New chief of Sarkozy's fractured party named after vote recount but crippling dispute not over

A hardliner has been confirmed the new chief of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party after a recount, but the result is unlikely to end the leadership battle that has fractured the party.

A week after a tight vote left the party in chaos, a special commission on Monday confirmed that Jean-Francois Cope had won leadership of the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP. According to the recount, he defeated moderate former Prime Minister Francois Fillon by 952 votes, 86,911 to 85,959.

Fillon rejected the recount as "illegal." The commission annulled all votes from at least two voting bureaus because of irregularities.

Cope called for the party to choose "forgiveness instead of division."

Party leadership is a typical step for French politicians who hope to vie for the presidency.