French ex-PM Fillon demands recount in party vote

France's ex-prime minister Francois Fillon's supporters Wednesday demanded a recount after a venomous leadership battle for the conservative main opposition UMP party, saying he was the rightful winner.

The demand before the UMP's internal election machinery said the count after the weekend vote did not take into account three overseas French territories.

Fillon, who lost by just 98 votes to former president Nicolas Sarkozy's ally Jean-Francois Cope, also asked UMP heavyweight Alain Juppe, who had been Sarkozy's foreign minister, to take over as the interim head of the party.

Cope said he was opposed to a recount.

"There were results, we must now rally and work together," Cope told journalists.

Fillon's supporters said if the votes in the French territories of New Caledonia, Mayotte and Wallis and Futuma were counted, he would have won a total of 88,004 votes against 87,978 votes for Cope.

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