Funny situation that the one in which the Republican party (LR) finds itself today. Used before 2017 to designate a charismatic leader as a legitimate candidate for the presidential election, the formation decided this year, instead of a primary, to rely on a congress, during which the militants must arbitrate between the various people in lice. If many have long been afraid that Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region, favorite in the polls, does not embark on a solo adventure, they are reassured since Monday, October 11.
The former Minister of Labor filed on Tuesday the “request for support” form of his party and will be present alongside Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Ile-de-France region, the former European commissioner Michel Barnier, the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes Eric Ciotti, the mayor of Garenne-Colombes ( Hauts-de-Seine) Philippe Juvin and entrepreneur Denis Payre, on December 4, for the famous designation congress.
As the executives anticipate, who keep polling the activists, this race has a particularity: the favorite at the national level according to the polls is here a challenger. Xavier Bertrand may well be, in fact, systematically ahead of his competitors in opinion studies, he is little appreciated by activists. His supporters know it, who were at the start of the young LR and heard the audience copiously boo his name and his photo, when they appeared for a tribute to the winners of the regional June.
Reclaiming the forces of life
Those who survey their members, talk to them and prepare them for the candidate’s visits thus see in them a certain “Distrust”, if not even “Resentment”. “Our activists are angry with him, believing that he let them go at the worst moment …”, slips a federation boss, who does not wish to be identified. This is because, in the opinion of all, the members who remained against all odds in the party are “The hard core”, faithful among the faithful whose line seems more to the right than that of their chosen ones; 87,000 people, many of whom value loyalty above all else, explains another federation president.
In this context, the departure of Xavier Bertrand from the party, in December 2017, after the election as its head of Laurent Wauquiez, more right-handed than his former colleague in the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, is struggling to pass. Xavier Bertrand’s various outings on political parties to which “He no longer believes”, and which he wanted to do without at the start of his campaign, ended up annoying more than one. Valérie Pécresse, who left LR in 2019, but has nevertheless multiplied the signals towards his political family in recent months, also suffers from the same pitfall: considered by some members as “Traitors”, they will have to reconquer the vital forces of their political family. A situation which no longer concerns, according to a deputy, “The rational but the emotional”.
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