French politics

The circus continues

François Fillon and Jean-François Copé at the UMP headquarters in Paris

François Fillon and Jean-François Copé had a meeting at the premises of the French Parliament to discuss about the current situation of UMP party and think about a compromise. At the end of their meeting (the first since the 25th of November), the two men agreed to… a new meeting tomorrow.

It is a new episode in the circus the main opposition party is experiencing since the election of a new leader, the 18th of November. Jean-François Copé won the ballot on a knife edge but François Fillon harshly contested, accusing the former UMP group at the French Parliament leader to have cheated and of manipulations. On his side, these one accuses former Prime minister of the same things and the two contestants are keeping passing the buck via insults and student declarations.

Since, mediations and compromise proposals have been put forward to calm down the situation and end to this deplorable show for the opposition. For instance, Alain Juppé, former Jacques Chirac’s Prime minister and Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign affairs minister, personally get involved to conciliate the two men. It was a total fail. Nicolas Sarkozy had to recognize the failure of his mediation, facing with the clear refusal of Jean-François Copé for any solution of compromise, as the proposal of a referendum for a new vote for the UMP leadership.

This new meeting between the two challengers should not change the situation much in the crisis the UMP is experiencing due to the deep disagreement existing between the two camps. Maybe such a meeting will be able to restart the dialogue that is not so bad. Nonetheless, what these two people are going to tell each other and who is ready to make concessions in this relentlessly fight, Fillon as Copé (especially Copé) not wanting to lose the face towards their supporters.

Indeed, nobody has interest such a meeting terminates on something concrete, in order to save time. It’s in this logic Jean-François Copé and his supporters recently proposed a new election of the UMP leader for 2014 insofar as it was in his interests. The UMP contested president knows it, his victory was confirmed by the internal committees of his party and he knows he has to play the time and appears as someone who wants appeasement and peace as his rival François Fillon who uses this strategy with acumen.

On his side, the current MP of Paris also wants to play the time and appeasement and call Copé’s bluff both. To be clear, forcing him to take his requests into account and make important concessions. Otherwise, he will not hesitate to go till the end, in other words the schism inside the UMP and which also exists with the creation of a pro-Fillon parliamentary group in the French National Assembly (and maybe in the French Senate). To sum up, the ex-French Prime minister is not going to give up vis-à-vis Jean-François Copé easily.

Francois-Fillon-conteste-a-Jean-Francois-Cope-sa-victoire_article_mainThis meeting between Copé and Fillon was useful if only it allowed an out of crisis solution for the UMP and if the two rivals accept to make some concessions. On the contrary, it is highly probable the circus continues with improbable consequences for every UMP executive. In other words, betting on a future out of crisis for the UMP is quite ambitious because of the current situation and the current position of Copé and Fillon in spite of the internal and external pressures (as Nicolas Sarkozy’s ones)