In the Fensch Valley, a vote in the first round of the presidential election “to blow up the system” – Le Monde

Demonstration of steel workers, in Hayange (Moselle), November 23, 2018. SÉBASTIEN BOZON / AFP “Welcome to Hayange. Here beats the heart of the valley,” reads the sign at the entrance to the town. The valley is that of the Fensch, sung by Bernard Lavilliers then romanticized by Nicolas Mathieu in Their children after them (Actes Sud), Prix Goncourt 2018. In the Moselle landscape, we read both the prosperity of the past and the difficulties of the present. There are the blast furnaces, these steel monsters now dormant, the facades blackened by pollution and the empty commercial premises. Hayange has been in the hands of the National Rally (RN) since 2014. In the first round, she voted for Marine Le Pen with 38.62%. Emmanuel Macron only comes in third place with 20.16%. The other municipalities did the same. Marine Le Pen comes first in Florange, Knutange, Algrange or even Nilvange. Everywhere, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is in second position. Everywhere, abstention is massive, between 33% and 40%. On April 10, even more than in 2017, the voters of the Fensch valley wanted to express a fed up, “to blow up the system”, summarizes Dominique Pietrangeli. Read also: The far-right vote in France in 2022 On this Easter Monday, the retiree talks politics at the counter of the Café de la Poste, in Hayange. “Initially, it was only a vote of anger, he admits. But, today, I adhere to a large part of Le Pen’s ideas. “It has been a long time since the RN vote is no longer taboo in this valley yet populated by the sons and grandsons of immigrants. “I myself am Italian,” explains Mr. Pietrangeli. When I told my sister that I was voting for Le Pen, she threatened to kill me. Since then, she understood. Look around you, all these people who don’t work and who take advantage of aid. It has to stop! “Territorial fracture” The Fensch Valley does not, however, exactly match the caricature that some want to make of it. Admittedly, industrial activity bears no resemblance to what it may have been during the splendor of “French Texas”, the nickname given to Lorraine in the 1960s. But there are still factories which invest in valley: ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp, Saarstahl… “There is work. But industrial jobs are more and more qualified and therefore inaccessible to unqualified people who live in our neighborhoods, regrets Michel Liebgott (Socialist Party), president of the Val de Fensch urban community. Everything seems to be going too fast for them. There is a feeling of downgrading. Above all, there is the proximity of Luxembourg, a vacuum cleaner for cross-border workers. The motorway viaduct which overlooks Hayange leads straight there. A few kilometers away, in the Thionvillois conurbation, real estate prices have exploded and wealthy housing estates have sprung up like mushrooms. There, we voted for Macron. “I believe that we can truly speak of a territorial divide, confirms the president of the Greater Region Institute, Roger Cayzelle. The Fensch valley seems psychologically blocked in the collapse of the steel industry. You have 28.77% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.