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French right ends dispute that briefly split party

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December 17, 2012 03:47 PM EST | AP


PARIS — France's conservatives have resolved a dispute that briefly split their party in two and upended French politics.

A November vote to elect the head of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative Union for a Popular Movement party ended in accusations of fraud. One of the politicians vying for the top spot then created a splinter group, luring away dozens of legislators.

The split threatened to ruin the conservatives' ability to counter the Socialists, who control France's presidency, parliament and most regions.

The two politicians at the center of the battle agreed Monday to hold a new vote for party leader next fall, before parliament returns from summer break in October. The two branches of the party will reunite in January.

The agreement also calls for the party's charter to be overhauled.