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French Prefer Francois Fillon as UMP Party Head, Poll Shows

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May 12 (Bloomberg) -- The French prefer Prime Minister Francois Fillon as a new head of outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, according to an Ifop poll to be published tomorrow in Sud Ouest Dimanche France.

For 27 percent of the French, Fillon is best positioned to lead the Union for a Popular Movement party in the coming years, the Ifop poll showed. Twenty percent prefer Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe as new chief, while 13 percent picked Jean-Francois Cope, the current UMP head.

In the autumn, Cope’s term as party leader comes up for review, with Fillon among the probable challengers. Sarkozy has said he will leave politics after his defeat. The UMP is fighting to keep recriminations and rivalries in check for at least another six weeks to prevent President-elect Francois Hollande’s Socialists from taking control of Parliament.

The poll for the newspaper by the Ifop polling company questioned 1,000 people 18 years or older through the Internet on May 10 and May 11. It didn’t provide the poll’s margin of error.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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