There are egos, there are political egos and then there are French political egos. In the ongoing civil war convulsing the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), it looks like neither side is going to back down and realistically, if anyone does at this stage, he will have lost a lot of face.
It all goes back to a controversial leadership contest early last month ostensibly won narrowly by Jean-Francois Copé. His rival, Francois Fillon, refuses to accept the result claiming that votes from overseas départments which, he says, weren't counted would have swung the result in his favour.
The socialist government should (at least privately) be laughing up their sleeves at this. The country is transfixed by the spectacle of the main opposition party tearing itself apart - Fillon has just set up a breakaway group in parliament called RUMP - Rassemblement pour la UMP - thereby distracting attention from the austerity policies of the Hollande administration.
However, even Hollande is calling for the row to end say that the country needed an effective opposition. Meanwhile, waiting somewhat further to the right is the Front National (FN) which is ready to position itself as the main opposition to the socialists. Its leader, Marine Le Pen is reporting a dramatic increase in requests to join her party. One opinion poll shows that the FN would be the big winner frome ongoing UMP drama.
Leadership row may cause UMP to split - The Irish Times - Fri, Nov 30, 2012
France's National Front smells opportunity as rivals feud- swissinfo