On June 15, the resignation of Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) party president Jean-François Copé will go into effect. The mayor of Meux and deputy from Seine-et-Marne took charge of the party in 2012 amidst infighting and a contest between him and François Fillon. Since then he has proven unable to unify the party. After dismal European election results in late May (with the UMP falling second to the far-right National Front), something had to give.
This was not the only time Copé has been in the news recently though. He was the subject of an investigation by the weekly Le Point magazine in late February. The “Copé Affair” revealed that two of his friends at the communications agency Bygmalion had pocketed an extra €8 million for organizing 2012 party campaign events.
As a result of this rocky year, the UMP leadership seems determined to regain control of the party. “The UMP is going to survive,” Eric Ciotti, a UMP deputy from Nice assured the television program The Grand Journal. “The roof of the house burned, but the foundations are there.”
In March, Copé assured Le Monde that, “with me, the house is held.” The house is indeed being held now, but no longer by Copé himself. He will be replaced by not one, but three former prime ministers for the time being: Alain Juppé, Jean-Pierre Raffarin and François Fillon. That is until October, when a party congress will choose its head of house.