French conservative party changes new name for 2017 presidential race _ and it seems familiar

Meet France's new conservatives, same as the old conservatives — but with a different name.

The UMP — an acronym for "union for a popular movement" — on Saturday officially changed its name to "the Republicans" after a two-day vote by members.

The party, under the leadership of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is hoping that shedding its old name will also help unload some political baggage before the 2017 presidential race. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the former No. 2 of the UMP, said the name change had 96 percent support.

Republicans across the Atlantic might not recognize themselves in their French namesakes — few here would question universal health care, significantly reduce taxes or slash unemployment benefits.

But France's ruling Socialist party is happy to draw the comparison.