Monday, November 26, 2012


Fillon and Copé must hate each other with a passion to have chosen the suicidal course that is undermining both of them and their party with it. In normal times, one assumes that political passions run across party lines. To be sure, Sarkozy threatened to hang Villepin from a butcher's hook, and the Right has numerous fratricidal episodes in its past. Those seemed different, however, because the protagonists were heavyweights. Fillon and Copé are still politicians of the second rank hoping to make the passage upward. Perhaps that's why their contest is so bitter. Others are calling for a new vote, and the result might indeed be different, because so many militants are disgusted with the leadership that they might sit this one out, if they have not already resigned.

Curiously, the PS treated us to a similar spectacle a few years ago. Few now remember that in the leadership contest to succeed Hollande, Aubry and Royal ran neck and neck, and, then as now, there were widespread (and credible) allegations of fraud. Yet eventually Royal withdrew. She seems to have been promised nothing for her sacrifice, and to have gotten nothing, although we can't be sure that there wasn't a deal involving DSK and Aubry, in which Royal would have gotten a ministry under a DSK presidency. But any such deal would have been rendered moot by subsequent events. The problem for the UMP is that Fillon has already served as prime minister for five years. The only job he wants now is the top one, and Copé is not about to give it to him.


Anonymous said...

Really don't see how Villepin, famous overseas because of the Irak situation but PM for only 2 years, quite unpopular all the way through and with very few influence in the UMP can be said to be heavyweight while Fillon, PM for 5 years, who survived Sarkozy's attempt to cut him loose, who was and still is popular and has till then lots of friends, is not.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Fabien on Villepin, who had little standing in the UMP and had never held elective office. Fillon and Copé are also not second rank. They are definitely in the top tier and 'présidentiable' (though while I could see Fillon in the Elysée someday, I categorically exclude that for Copé). This conflict seems more bitter than even Aubry-Royal because the hatred between Fillon-Copé is so out in the open (as with Sarkozy-Villepin), fraud was manifestly committed in the vote - whereas it was only admitted sotto voce well after the fact in the 2008 PS contest -, and, unlike Aubry-Royal, there is a serious political and ideological cleavage between Fillon and Copé. The stakes are very high in this psychodrama.