Republicans have a sense of humor. It was one of the messages, perhaps involuntary, carried during these “General States of the right for France” which took place on Saturday at the Cirque d’Hiver, in Paris. In addition to the challenge of being united, the intervention – unprecedented for this kind of format – of a humorist, Sandrine Sarroche, was able to relax the atmosphere made stifling by the heat as well as the state of a party in search for guidelines.
In the middle of a circular scene, the leaders of LR – Gérard Larcher, Eric Ciotti or even Bruno Retailleau – painted the portrait of a party weakened by these successive defeats, but still on the track. “It is proof of political intelligence to be able to name what is wrong,” umes Alexandra Borchio-Fontimp, senator for the Alpes-Maritimes close to Eric Ciotti.
The Republicans, whose number of deputies (63) was drastically reduced in the last legislative elections, find themselves competing on their right by the RN in the process of normalization with 88 elected deputies. “We are delighted, Eric Ciotti is repeating what we have always said about immigration”, welcomes the entourage of Marine Le Pen after LR formulated two proposals on immigration including a draft constitutional revision through a referendum.
At the center of the game, Emmanuel Macron was able to attract part of the center-right electorate to him while aligning proposals likely to seduce Republican sympathizers on immigration or even retirement at 65. The debate around the postponement of the legal age last March whose party emerged divided, was experienced as an ordeal within an apparatus barely recovered from a single-digit score in the presidential election (4.78% of the vote).
“Let’s say it straight away: our political family has not failed to be shaken up and weakened”, admitted Eric Ciotti but out of the question to “play the supporting roles or the auxiliaries” repeated the president of the party during the meeting. a river speech that swept away all the subjects. “The only worthwhile place is first!” exclaimed the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes in front of a gathering of personalities including Xavier Bertrand, the president of Hauts-de-France, whose Elysian ambitions are no secret to anyone on the right.
Absent, Laurent Wauquiez confirmed, via his entourage, that he would welcome the first local variation of these States-General in the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes which he chairs. “Our probable candidate is not there. After a while, you don’t hide all the time ”, little appreciates an LR frame. Far from the war of the chiefs, the organizers of these States-general, in the entourage of Eric Ciotti, praise, on the contrary, the spirit of concord which would have presided over their creation.
“This meeting is really designed to show that we are able to talk to each other and call public opinion to bear on issues dear to the French”, explained already, a few days earlier, Vincent Jeanbrun, spokesperson for the party. Among the themes in question, several markers of the right such as the bankruptcy of National Education, the excess of bureaucracy, the resurgence of violence in society or the feeling of “decivilization”. An expression used by Emmanuel Macron himself in the Council of Ministers.
Highlight of this demonstration first thought for the militants, the presence of two chroniclers and intellectuals accustomed to television shows, Mathieu Bock-Côté and Eric Naulleau, who came to discuss the growing influence of “wokism”. A sign that the party also intends to wage the battle of ideas, Eric Ciotti already promised in his speech, targeting the far left, “we will not let them do it and with us, there will be no Wokistan instead of place of millennial France”.
With the approach of the next European elections in June 2024, LR is concerned about the possible competition of a “Reconquest” list led by Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Especially since the path looks long and narrow to hope to exist again in the eyes of the French. The question of an alliance in favor of a possible reshuffle also comes up regularly. A possibility rejected en bloc by the members.
Even Gérard Larcher, mentioned as a possible recourse for Matignon despite his denials, saw fit to clarify LR’s place in the opposition, supposed to embody in Parliament the “pragmatism” which would refuse “sectarianism and ideology”. And to add: “This relative majority is not ours, our differences are very deep”.
In the presidential camp, the hypothesis of an agreement with the right is moving away day by day as LR intends to increase pressure on the executive in the National embly. “Everything remains to be done”, concluded Eric Ciotti at the end of these Estates General.