It has been a fascinating (stifle those yawns) couple of days in the contest to find the next leader of the opposition centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement,UMP).
First up Xavier Bertrand, announced at the weekend that he wouldn't be standing in the election scheduled for November.
And on Monday, the day before the deadline for nominations closed, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM) said she was pulling out of the race.
Yes, the contest to find the next leader of the party is definitely...er...cooling down?
Bertrand's decision proved to be one noteworthy for its content, especially in saying something that wasn't about to happen. Remember Alain Juppé also used the same tactics recently to declare his non-participation.
But the former minister and one-time secretary general of the party also managed to spice things up a little by making journalists reach for their diaries in true François Hollande style (as humorist and impersonator Nicolas Canteloup keeps reminding listeners every morning on Europe 1 radio, the country's president now has an "agenda" or timetable) to note that he would be running in the party's primaries to choose its candidate in the 2017 presidential (of the country, that is) elections.
"I don't want to confuse matters and it's a coherent choice and a transparent one," he said.
Talk about forward planning (yes that's tautologous) in all its glorious splendour. It certainly earned something of a snorting response from Juppé who, when asked what he thought about Bertrand's announcement said with more than a hint of irony that, "Without doubt, some politicians never change. You just have to smile at their impatience given the situation the country finds itself in today."
So no "Bertrand for presidency of the UMP" even though he apparently has the necessary support of party activists to be able to stand.
Nominations close on Tuesday and potential candidates have to present almost 8,000 (or 7,924 to be precise) signatures to qualify for the first round.
And no NKM either because (handkerchieves at the ready) she reportedly hasn't managed to gather enough backing.
"I have been trying to collect sufficient signatures to be able to stand," she told Europe 1 radio.
"But at the last reckoning, I had gathered just under 7,000 so I'm withdrawing which is a shame as I had hoped to bring my ideas to help lead the party."
Neither Bertrand nor NKM has said who they'll be voting for in a race which is likely to figure former prime minister François Fillon and current secretary general Jean-François Copé in a slugfest, or as NKM described it, "an excess of testosterone which could render any real debate sterile."
So in true sloppy journalistic style - when there's nothing more to say about a story or the person reporting it cannot think of a way to wrap things up - who either of them will plump for in the end "remains to be seen" or "only time will tell".
The end - for now.
NKM : "Je n'aurai pas les parrainages nécessaires" par Europe1fr
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
UMP leadership battle - Xavier Bertrand "passes" and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet withdraws
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