The French conservative UMP party has chosen Jean-Francois Copé as its next leader after a tight election spoiled by claims of fraud and ballot stuffing. Or has it? Copé, an ‘ally’ of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy won 50.03% of the vote thereby defeating ex-PM Francois Fillon by just 98 votes. The final result was delayed for over 24 hours as ballots were recounted. Victory speeches were made by both men before the result was announced. Fillon, speaking after his rival's ‘real’ victory speech, mentioned ‘many irregularities’ in the electoral process but stopped short of rejecting the result. What he is saying is that three islands’ results were not included and that if they were he would be the winner by 26 votes. There is now talk of judicial review, going to court and other ways of having the election declared void.
I was wondering about those missing votes. Could any of them be from Sandy Island? If any of you have not seen this item in the news, then you ought to know that there is a substantial ‘phantom’ island in the Coral Sea that is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps. It is purportedly halfway between Australia and French New Caledonia and is supposedly a French territory along with coral reefs and cays in that area. The Times Atlas of the World indeed identifies it by its French name Sable. Weather maps used by the Southern Surveyor, an Australian maritime research vessel, also say it exists. However, when the Southern Surveyor, was give the task of identifying fragments of the Australian continental crust beneath the Coral Sea looked for it, the island was nowhere to be found. Has M. Copé had Sandy tampered with? Has it been hidden from M. Fillon along with at least enough votes for Copé to face ignominious defeat? It has been said it is uninhabited but given the accusations flying back and forth at present who cares and who notices?
Meanwhile, the former leader of UMP Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in court in Bordeaux to answer questions about suspicions he illegally accepted donations from 90 year old L'Oréal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman to fund his 2007 election campaign. Bettencourt's former accountant told police that she handed over more than €150,000 in cash which she was told would be handed to Sarkozy's campaign treasurer. Sarkozy has consistently denied the allegations. Whilst examining magistrate Jean-Michel Gentil is at it he may like to ask Sarkozy if he knows the whereabouts of a missing island. The plot thickens whilst the credibility of UMP thins.