Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement, initially named the Union for a Presidential Majority, and in both cases also known by its French acronym UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire and Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle, respectively) is a French right-wing, conservative political party. It was founded in 2002 from the merger of the Rally for the Republic (Rassemblement Pour la République), Démocratie Libérale, and a sizeable portion of the Union for French Democracy (Union pour la Démocratie Française). UMP is a member of the International Democrat Union.
Close to Jacques Chirac and president of the movement since its official creation in 2002, Alain Juppé resigned on July 15, 2004, because he was convicted of corruption in January of the same year. On November 29, 2004, Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would officially take over the UMP Presidency and resign his post as Minister of Finance, ending months of speculation. Many analysts view this appointment as a step towards the French Presidency in 2007.
As its initial name shows, UMP generally supports the policies of president Jacques Chirac. However, in 2004, UMP has shown increasing signs of independence. The unpopularity of Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Raffarin's administration in the electorate has led most members of UMP to support Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a rival of Chirac. UMP also publicly disapproved of Turkey's proposed membership in the European Union, which Chirac had previously endorsed several times publicly.
UMP has a majority in both houses of the French Parliament. However, it was dealt a heavy blow in the 2004 French regional elections.
UMP, as heir to the RPR, has been increasingly embroiled in judicial proceedings following from the corruption scandals in the Paris region. Its president Alain Juppé was sentenced in 2004 for a related felony.
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