A second investigation confirmed Jean-François Copé as the new leader of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), the centre-right party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
But his rival, former prime minister François Fillon, immediately rejected the result saying the new count was "illegal" and the UMP appeals committee that produced it was biased in favour of Copé.
Copé, 48, was initially declared winner by a margin of just 98 votes after the ballot of party members eight days ago. Shortly afterwards Fillon, 58, claimed votes from three overseas districts had been "forgotten" and would have given him victory.
For the past week, the two sides have ripped the UMP apart, accusing each other of cheating and election fraud while party heavyweights called for calm and tried to referee the dispute. One French newspaper described it as "live suicide".Awe, that's too damn bad. If conservatives spend all their time fighting each other, things might get accomplished.
I imagine though, that ultimately the Right's love of ruining things for others is too unifying to allow other things to get in the way.
For example they can rally around Wal-Mart's ability to kill foreign workers in huge numbers as the blessings of free markets.
[cross-posted at Firedoglake]