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  Fight for the French right: François Fillon goes head-to-head with Nicolas Sarkozy
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jul 13, 2013 08:25pm
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AuthorJohn Lichfield
MediaNewspaper - Independent
News DateSunday, July 14, 2013 02:25:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe former French Prime Minister François Fillon has declared war on his ex-boss Nicolas Sarkozy in a battle for the vacant leadership of the French right.

A predictable showdown between the one-time partners has been accelerated by the behaviour of the nominally “retired” former President Mr Sarkozy, who has taken to presenting himself as France’s lost hero and saviour-in-waiting. The usually understated Mr Fillon, 59, has ripped into Mr Sarkozy as a man whose personal power games threaten to discredit their centre-right party and hand the next presidential election to President François Hollande.

“No one has the right to say: ‘I am the only solution…” The old days of self-anointed leaders are over,” Mr Fillon told a party meeting in the south of France. In a private conversation afterwards, Mr Fillon told supporters that he would – if necessary – stand against Mr Sarkozy in the first round of the next presidential election in 2017. Their party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) has agreed to hold a primary election in 2016 to choose its presidential candidate. However, Mr Sarkozy implied this week that he might launch an independent bid to return to the Elysée Palace as a candidate of national salvation “not limited to the right”.
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