French politics

UMP in jeopardy?

Nicolas Sarkozy, former French President and UMP leader

Nicolas Sarkozy, former French President and UMP leader

Help! Fire in the UMP house! On yesterday, the French Constitutional Court rejected the 2012 Nicolas Sarkozy presidential campaign fees, causing a net 11 million euro loss for the ex-presidential party. Just after this decision, Jean-François Copé, UMP president and Nicolas Sarkozy called for contribution to bailout the party and ensure its survival on the behalf of democratic pluralism.

UMP party requests to Frenchs – whatever their political beliefs or they are involved in politics or not – to contribute to give it a future and allow it to assume its role in the opposition and avoid it disappears, for the sake of French politics, according to Copé.

This is a terrific hard blow for the main Right party who took charge a large part of the 2012 Nicolas Sarkozy presidential campaign fees hoping to be reimbursed as the Constitution allows. But important management mistakes have been done by UMP and Nicolas Sarkozy, the Constitutional Court considering some expenditures taken charge by the party should have been taken into account by Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate, especially his grand rally at Villepinte (near Paris) which happened in the same time than the internal meeting of the UMP party regarding the 2012 legislative elections and which cost near 3 million euro. This non-differentiation between the Nicolas Sarkozy’s expenditures and the UMP’s ones were fatal for the candidate-president and make the final bill heaver, not allowing him to be paid back, the Constitutional Court’s ceiling having been reached.

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Graph describing the rejection of Sarkozy campaign fees published by the French daily, “Le Figaro”

UMP leaders and members quickly reacted, calling French citizens to contribute and contesting the logical and implacable Constitutional Court’s decision both, on the behalf of democratic pluralism. This is an interesting argument but not sufficient to mobilize French people much all the more so as repetitive scandals regarding the financing of UMP or the 2007 and 2012 Nicolas Sarkozy presidential campaigns (Karachi, Bettencourt, Takieddine…) have a negative impact on citizens more reluctant to “save” a party for which they are a lot of reproaches, and at the moment they are more and more distrustful vis-à-vis the whole political spectrum.

What is more, if the French Constitutional Court’s decision has a serious financial consequence for the UMP party, it also has a political consequence for Nicolas Sarkozy who dreams of taking his revenge on François Hollande on May 2017, date of the next French presidential election. But, how to get the trust of French people back and to introduce himself as a good manager when you are unable to master its own accounts? At the moment it is requested to the population to make efforts, the Constitutional Court’s decision comes at a very bad time for the ex-French president who puts all his come-back strategy, introducing as the providential man, the one who wants, must come back by duty towards the Nation.

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On the next Monday, the UMP is holding an extraordinary board meeting which might be very lively not to say tense between Jean-François Copé and Nicolas Sarkozy who is considering the other as responsible for the situation. Maybe the time went for the party to make its self-critic and wonder on its final goal, which supposes it has the courage to give up its former leader. In other words, clearing the debt.

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