France's UMP still short of cash after successful fund drive

July 30, 2013 at 3:37 PM

PARIS, July 30 (UPI) -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's political party is short of the cash it needs to repay banks despite a successful drive for donations, officials say.

The UMP, the French acronym for Union for a Popular Movement, is supposed to repay 11 million euros ($14.6 million) Wednesday, The Local.fr reported Tuesday. The money owed was for the party's campaign deposit for the last presidential election.

Sarkozy kicked off a fundraising drive this month after the Constitutional Council found the UMP would not be reimbursed for its deposit, because the party spent beyond legal limits during Sarkozy's unsuccessful campaign for a second term.

On his Facebook page, Sarkozy said problems with the UMP's finances put democracy at risk in France. The "Sarkathon," a nickname given by the French news media, raised 8.3 million euros ($11 million).

In a letter to his supporters, published in Le Parisien, Sarkozy said he was "greatly touched" by their generosity.

"I wanted to personally express my gratitude for the gift you have been kind enough to make. By your valuable support, you have demonstrated your commitment to your political family as well as to pluralism. This test has reinforced our convictions," he said.

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