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France's Francois Fillon demands recount

  • Francois Fillon, the losing candidate in the contest to lead France's conservative opposition demanded a recount on Wednesday.

    Fillon, a former prime minister, said votes from three overseas French territories, which were excluded from the original count, would change the result.

    Fillon, the campaign favorite, lost Sunday's UMP party leadership vote to Jean-Francois Cope by just 98 votes.

    Cope, an ally of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, won 50.03 percent of the vote, beating ex-prime minister Francois Fillon with 49.97 percent.

    The final result was announced on Monday and had been delayed for more than 24 hours following accusations from both sides of ballot stuffing.

    According to Fillon, the extra votes from the overseas territories would see him win the contest by 26 votes.

    The UMP held the presidency of France for 17 years but in May, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande ended Sarkozy's bid for a second term.