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France's “Presidential Majority” Ump Party Now Shipwrecked

Politics / France May 28, 2014 - 03:29 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Get Out and Don't Come Back
The Policy Bureau of France's “Union pour une Majorite Presidentielle” (also called “Union for a Popular Movement”) shook with rage at 11 am on Monday 26 May following the European elections of 25 May. The UMP party founded by Jacques Chirac following the massive shock vote for candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen and his “unconstitutional” Front National party in the 2002 presidential elections was “in torment”. As reported by the finance broadsheet 'Les Echos', 27 May, party president of the UMP, Jean-Francois Cope, was unanimously told to resign and get out immediately - “or nobody in this building will ever shake your hand again”.

One identified attacker was the UMP deputy for Savoy, Dominque Dord who told 'Les Echos' that “Get out and don't come back” was thrown at Cope “without being accusatory”. It was a statement of fact!

It was him or the party. By 3 pm Cope had agreed to quit before 15 June taking all the present UMP directors and policy chiefs with him.

Nicolas Sarkozy, on visit to Spain to see its most-unpopular-ever Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was kept informed but did not come back to Paris to watch the political execution of a former rival. He had no public comment on the subject.

Through Monday and Tuesday, the nakedly pro-Sarkozy television outlet BM-TV and the slightly less openly pro-Sarkozy news provider i-Tele, wheeled on the New UMP as the party booted out the Old UMP, in real time. Almost tripping over each other to get to the microphone, so-called heavyweights of the Party came along to proclaim the New. These included Bernard Debre, son of Michel Debre who founded the UNR-Union for a New Republic which later backed Charles de Gaulle's successful bid for president in 1958, and former Prime Ministers Alain Juppe, Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Francois Fillon.

Their claim was the New UMP could only be more successful “and responsive to voters” than the previous. Some spokespersons for the heavyweights claimed the May 25 elections show that France needs an “all-party coalition government of National Salvation”. Other spokespersons said the country “needs group therapy” and is “psychologically disturbed”.

The UMP also. Independent analysts said the UMP crisis is only a subset of long-standing political crisis in France. The UMP was itself a party “created on the spur of the moment”, for the specific goal of getting Jacques Chirac elected president of France in 2002. Nothing more. Its time is up.

Sarko Lays Low
Former president and UMP party chief Sarkozy has every reason to lay low. Wags have said he might “prolong his stay” in Spain, or possibly move to the Cayman Islands to avoid probable, or at least possible criminal charges of corruption against him. Not against the UMP, but against him. The charges are covered by French media on a regular basis, and stretch from Sarkozy's earliest “reform” of the UMP in 2004 – including “reform” of its financing – to his relations with the party, and its financing, after his defeat in the presidential elections of 2012.

Sarkozy has also been called The Sphinx, due to his calculated lack of response to the crisis tearing apart “his” UMP.  Sarkozy did not lift a finger to help his ultra-loyal (wags say poodle-like) Prime Minister Fillon when he battled Cope for leadership of the UMP. Fillon lost. This week's shock resignation of Jean-Francois Cope should in theory, therefore, be a personal victory for Francois Fillon but that is in no way the case.

During the crucial years 2004-2007 Nicolas Sarkozy “restructured and reformed” the UMP, to the point that the divide-and-rule system of power that Sarkozy installed, and what is politely called “the opaque financing” of the party, resulted in Nobody running the party. Loosely only, in political terms, Sarkozy was the boss. But very tightly in financial terms! Policy was left to “nice nunuche speakers”, selected and promoted by Sarkozy himself. They included such instantly forgettable persons as “NKM” or Natalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Nadine Morano and Valerie Pecresse.  The party became a laughing stock – but it was outraced and outgunned on every criteria of political degeneracy by the Parti Socialiste of Francois Hollande – and of Dominique Strauss Kahn or “DSK”. The dinosaurs of a very corrupt past.

More corrupt, more idiotic than the UMP. That is all.

Political analysts in France and elsewhere analyze this one-way trend. For Sarkozy and for Hollande it was a personal win-win. They locked-in their own power by destroying the party “apparatus” which became a shell-only. There was no longer any such thing as “policy and programmes”, they were now makeshift. Made-up instantly forgettable “nunuche stories” for the People Press. The subject of party financing, for sure, remained important but the French tradition of political corruption – which in 1958 the World War II Hero (of London) Charles de Gaulle said he was going to stamp out “for ever” - remained in place, for ever. And stronger than ever!

Plenty of French analysts – obviously not cited by the glove puppet media like BFM TV or i-Tele – claim they have proof that the moment Hollande's Parti Socialste surfed back into power in 2012, the party set up its “black financing” system feeding directly off the State and businesses of all types, sizes and kinds. Sarkozy ran the show through 2007-2012. The State was always the Mother financing lode or patsy but this time around – the UMP pushed itself too close to the cliff face.

Government No, Corruption Yes
Logically with No Parties, you have No Government. This would cut out the Party parasites and the State Mother of corruption. Until we get to that state, of the Non State with No Parties, there is corruption which in France went far Over The Top (OTT).

Why do political parties in a democratic state need “additional funding” over and beyond what paid-in party members contribute?

The accusations against Nicolas Sarkozy about UMP corruption and the use of sometimes-extorted funds from large – and small – companies are often hilarious. According to accusing lawyers and journalists, the UMP may have extorted funds from French businesses from the day the UMP was created! The analysis of investigators is that the “initial float” of extorted funds was supplied by Jacques Chirac and his “associate”, the Mayor of Paris who replaced Chirac as mayor, Jean Tiberi.

One proven example concerned elevator servicing companies operating in Paris who had to pay a “dime”, in French meaning a “contribution”. Otherwise they lost their contracts. To pay the dime, they skimped on elevator maintenance – and several persons died in elevator accidents. The story leaked into the press – and Tiberi was “sacrificed” but only received a suspended jail term. Chirac himself, but much later on, after quitting the presidency of France received a suspended jail term for various corruption charges. Proven but (not) forgotten!

Sarkozy's principal defense is therefore set in stone. “He didn't know” or “Inherited a corrupt party”. It was the fault of Chirac, but because Chirac was the founder of the UMP this storyline sets plenty of problems for the credibility of the party, which calls itself the “Presidential Majority” party. If it was a corrupt party from the day it was founded – and this is the case – why should anybody cry about it disappearing forever?

Exactly the same applies to the French Parti Socialiste. Following Cope's “shock resignation” from the UMP party its spokespersons trooped to the microphones on BFM TV and i-Tele to sternly, even joyously proclaim the massive defeat of the Parti Socialiste in the May 25 European elections. The PS of Hollande had received the votes of about 6.5% of all eligible voters in France. Should that party remain in power - or resign immediately and dissolve itself?

The vote was a “historic sign the PS is unfit to govern”.  The corrupt and dislocated UMP is also unfit to govern. No Government beckons in France.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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