The Republic on the march is preparing not to “make a splash” (ANALYSIS) – RT in French

In the absence of local elected officials and unflattering polls in a campaign that La République en Marche tends to nationalize, the macronists do not panic on the unfavorable indicators against them. Their candidates remain positive.

The dynamics of 2017 seem distant for the presidential party. After the defeat in the Europeans of 2019 and then in the municipal and senatorial elections of 2020, the last deadlines before the presidential cardinal are fast approaching without La République en Marche (LREM) being able to reverse the trend. “I am not going to tell you that we are going to make a splash”, recognizes also for RT France Senator LREM Bernard Buis and candidate for departmental in the canton of Diois (Drôme).

The Republic on the move is already thinking of 2022

With 2022 as the only horizon, Emmanuel Macron himself seems to be stepping over the elections of June 20 and 27. In the absence of success for his movement, these regional and departmental can still serve him. With a left at its lowest, the executive is now helping to destabilize the moderate right. The two most significant examples being, first of all, in the Paca region, the attempt by Prime Minister Jean Castex to formalize a merger between LREM and the list led by outgoing President Les Républicains (LR) Renaud Muselier. If ultimately no device agreement has been reached, the imbroglio remains with LR lists integrating members of the majority and obtaining the support of the latter.

The other emblematic case being that of Hauts-de-France where no less than five ministers present themselves to try to pocket a Macronist victory against the presidential candidate – and potential threat for Emmanuel Macron – Xavier Bertrand. If the polls remain unflattering for the lists led by the Secretary of State for Pensions, Laurent Pietraszewski, with an estimate of around 10%, LREM can play the troublemaker until the end. In a battle that promises to be close between Xavier Bertrand and the deputy of the National Rally (RN) Sébastien Chenu, LREM can still parasitize the former Sarkozy minister by various methods, in particular by stepping aside during the second round despite a possible maintenance. A victory for Xavier Bertrand helped by LREM would not necessarily clarify the cleavage while it is precisely trying to embody an opposition to the presidential majority. In this sense, some commentators have noted that LREM’s primary objective for these local elections was less to win them than to torpedo the moderate right and Les Républicains with a view to 2022.

We need to be in the Region to articulate the national program

A strategy which the head of the list in pairs in the Aisne for the regional in Hauts-de-France, Sawsen Clément-Jebbari, defends itself half-heartedly. Because for the LREM referent in this department, it is as much about fighting Xavier Bertrand as the strong establishment of the RN. To do this, Sawsen Clément-Jebbari goes so far as to nationalize the stakes. “We have a message for voters about what we have done and want to do nationally. We need to be in the Region to articulate the national program, it is fundamental for the recovery, ”she explains.

A nationalization of the countryside

Seeing himself with his running mates as “challengers” against Xavier Bertrand and Sébastien Chenu, Sawsen Clément-Jebbari does not hesitate to curb his rivals. She deplores, among other things, the fact that the current president of the Hauts-de-France region has refused to “combine his forces” with the marchers, putting himself “constantly in competition with the State”.

Sawsen Clément-Jebbari also criticizes Xavier Bertrand’s assessment: “In Hauts-de-France, we have an employment problem with results below the national average. Look at the per capita income, it’s lower than the national average. On health, it’s incredible, we still have a life expectancy lower than the national average. ” Except that these issues seem to concern more state competence than that of the Region. Especially since the Hauts-de-France is a disaster-stricken industrial land, which dates long before the arrival at its head in 2016 of the former Minister of Health. Relocations and closings of factories like those of Whirlpool in Amiens, for example, go beyond the simple responsibility of the Region. Attacked on this ground in the debates, Xavier Bertrand recalls on LCI on June 9 that, if unemployment is indeed high at “9.3%”, it was at “12.3% in 2016” shortly before he took over. function.

For Sawsen Clément-Jebbari, the Region can nevertheless “breathe new life into it” by financing projects such as the creation of “a regional investment bank for sustainable development” or improve vocational training. It is also betting on the capacity of the Region to “make the orientation less unequal”.

The nationalization of the ballot with themes beyond the regional framework is a tactic that we have also seen in Ile-de-France where secularism and security are invoked by macronist candidates such as Marlène Schiappa or Laurent Saint-Martin.

In Hauts-de-France, LREM even sent heavy artillery with the direct involvement of members of the government, including Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti and Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin. Nothing more logical in the eyes of Sawsen Clément-Jebbari since these are politicians “native to the region or who grew up here, who will resign from the government if they are elected”. “We made this commitment that our ministers prioritize the region,” she insists. With the risk, in the event of a slap in the face of these deadlines, of a certain weakening of power and of the majority. Nothing to worry about the candidate who is delighted to see in the towing operations, on the markets or at flea markets, that the “returns are good”, especially because traders, employees and elders recognize, according to her, that they “were financially protected during the health crisis”. She considers moreover that it is “pleasant” that the voters return to the tutelary figure of Emmanuel Macron during this campaign, arguing on the popularity rating of the Head of State of nearly 50%, which she perceives as “historical”.

Departmental: LREM in lack of candidates to present themselves everywhere

However, not all LREM candidates play on the national side to convince. The parliamentarian and departmental councilor of Drôme, Bernard Buis, relies on proximity to the citizens of his rural constituency, which has 64 municipalities, the smallest of which has only one inhabitant: “Our advantage in small municipalities is is that the departmental elected officials are known. After the mayor, we know the elected departmental. I have been in the Department since 2004, people know a little about how we work with my partner Martine Charmet. ”

Bernard Buis considers himself to be “an intermediary between the average citizen and the decision-making bodies such as the Region or the State to carry out projects”. “People know very well what we are used for: the Department, for small towns, is the one that brings in money and will help them put together their file to have their sanitation network, to restore their town hall. , their church, go to a skate park… ”

“Identified as a departmental councilor or a super-mayor” by the citizens, he does not have this “feeling” of a campaign reduced to national or government policy. In short, Bernard Buis does not think that at his level his label therefore has any influence whatsoever on the vote, despite his dual function as a senator. He stresses that the proposals he addresses are local, promoting an investment in the associative fabric, the recruitment of staff in medico-social centers or substantial financial support in the roads, all this being possible thanks to a “debt-free department which has room for maneuver ”.

On the other hand, he does not hide his desire to take on the role of “hinge”, that is to say the possibility of forming an alliance with a majority, whether on the left or on the right, if it is. ci resumes his projects. However, there is no “illusion”: if Bernard Buis wants LREM to be represented in the department, he concedes that a victory is unlikely against parties which are represented in each territory. “Tomorrow I think there will be majorities, including in certain departments, which will have to be done with us”, he bet.

As much it was enough to appear in 2017 during the legislative elections with the photo of Emmanuel Macron to be elected. As much in a local election it is not enough to display with the photo of Emmanuel Macron

At first glance, the regional and departmental should benefit outgoing elected officials. Our two candidates are equally convinced of this. A characteristic which does not plead in favor of macronia. Bernard Buis recognizes that this is the weak point of their party: “As much as it was enough to appear in 2017 during the legislative elections with the photo of Emmanuel Macron to be elected and we had a tidal wave. As much in a local election it is not enough to display with the photo of Emmanuel Macron. People vote for people who are known locally. ” And the municipal episode did not help Macronist affairs. “We must not hide our face, people who went to municipal elections and suffered a failure do not want to relive a second failure. In some places, they say to themselves that if it is to achieve the same result, there is no point in going there, ”notes Bernard Buis who concedes that LREM was unable to present itself in all the cantons, for lack of activists. having the time, the finances and the inclination to campaign in a difficult context. “We may not have this pool there but we may have it in ten years,” he reassures himself. Like Sawsen Clément-Jebbari, he is satisfied to observe that LREM has activists on the ground, ready to stick the posters in particular. A movement however still too young according to them to be able to have an anchoring in the image of the other big parties. The June deadlines will nevertheless be indicative of the Macronist ability to avoid a possible new electoral fiasco.

Bastien Gouly

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