The first round of regional elections recalled that the so-called “traditional” parties were not dead, and that they would probably have a strong role to play in the next national election.
Chronicle of an announced duel. For several weeks now, the various polls have been promising a new confrontation between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen in the context of the presidential election, which must be played out in less than a year now. These various investigations did not even leave room for suspense, as the opponents of these two candidates seemed relegated to the role of mere extras.
And then the first round of the regional and departmental elections, this Sunday, came to sow doubt. For its part, the RN is in sharp decline at the national level and has come first in only one region, while the presidential party, LaREM, has experienced a berezina in large widths, being rolled everywhere in the country despite the deployment of several government figures. At the same time, the so-called “traditional” parties that were said to be suffering, including the Republicans and the Socialist Party, have regained, temporarily at least, their colors. “As in municipal elections, the old world shows that it is still there,” remarks political scientist Bruno Cautrès.
A disallowance for 2022
If there is one lesson to be learned from this first round marked by historic abstention, it is that of the failure of the presidential strategy. A failure all the more flagrant in Hauts-de-France, where the Head of State had sent no less than five of his ministers, including the head of the list, Laurent Pietraszewski, who will not even appear in the second tower.
“It’s a slap in the face for Emmanuel Macron and the executive,” analyzes political scientist Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet from Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The prospect of a Macron-Le Pen duel in 2022, to which voters are overwhelmingly opposed, is receding, with three phenomena which combine: historical rejection of the political class, absence of a massive push in favor of the RN and maintenance of the traditional right, ”he adds.
The Head of State will also have to question the disappointing results of Brigitte Klinkert in the Grand Est, barely above the 10% mark, and Marc Fesneau, at only 16% in Center-Val-de -Loire when the macronie hoped it would win. What to feed the reflections on a possible reshuffle, estimated one of his relatives last week, and to put the strong man of the Elysee Palace in an unfortunate position a few weeks from launching a hypothetical – but still very likely – new campaign electoral.
Bertrand’s new legitimacy
One question remains: who could come to prevent a new Macron-Le Pen duel in the second round in 2022? “On the right, there were no candidates, now there will be too many”, sums up Alain Duhamel, our political columnist on the subject of the return to form experienced by the right-wing party, which seemed to be in disarray lately. . “Of course, on the one hand there is a real triumph for Xavier Bertrand, he is not the only one on the right, but undoubtedly he has a very good score. […] For the rest, Wauquiez made a very good score, Valérie Pécresse made a good score, “he adds. Enough to launch the current president of Hauts-de-France straight into the presidential battle?
“Bertrand does not hide his desire to go against Emmanuel Macron and we understood it well by listening to him that his register will be all against the National Rally because it is I, Xavier Bertrand, who am the best against the National Rally. He will try to show that he is more effective against them than Emmanuel Macron, that will be his campaign, “adds Alain Duhamel.
In his reflection, he is joined by Matthieu Croissandeau, who for his part also believes that the attempts to counter Xavier Bertrand have failed, to the point of giving him enhanced legitimacy.
“Emmanuel Macron wanted to reduce the right in the perspective of the next presidential election, he did not succeed. We remember the care he took in Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’azur by making it implode by holding out the hand to Renaud Muselier. In the Hauts-de-France, a missile was sent in the person of Eric Dupond-Moretti, a minister with the banter of punch, it was also an anti-Xavier Bertrand missile, it is failure all the way, ”he explains.
Beyond a defeat at the polls, the situation is also symbolically painful for Emmanuel Macron, one year before the national ballot, despite growing popularity:
“The irony is that the president, who votes in Le Touquet, will have to slip a ballot in the name of Xavier Bertrand. He will become an obstacle, he is the most serious candidate of the right, in any case considered the most credible in the polls for the presidential election, “emphasizes Matthieu Croissandeau.
Mystery and suspense
However, there is still a long way to go and the journey to the Elysee Palace is strewn with uncertainties. For the time being, it is in fact still extremely difficult to understand and interpret the effects of the local election on the national level, especially as in the regions of 2015, such a pattern was already visible with the first positions trusted by Les Républicains and the Socialist Party. The only difference is the absence of LaREM, which then did not exist.
“You have to be careful with the interpretation of the results, it’s a bit of a trompe-l’oeil especially if we make a projection on the presidential elections. Nobody was to vote yesterday [dimanche, NDLR], very few people, it is unthinkable in 2022. You have to be careful, the risk is a real trompe l’oeil. Part of the electorate of the extreme right will go to vote, we must pay attention to the analysis of yesterday’s results “, explained on Monday to our antenna Charlotte Chaffanjon, political journalist at Release.
For the opposition, however, it is certain that these latest results are indeed proof that the duel announced between Macron and Le Pen will not take place. Invited today on our antenna, Eric Coquerel, deputy of rebellious France, is in any case convinced.
“The RN is lower than predicted, but it is a lesson for the future because the polls and the system had formatted these regional elections as those where the threat of the National Rally was going to submerge everything and we were all going have to position oneself in relation to that. This is not the case, and in the same way I think that it is necessary to question what one is doing to us a year before the presidential one. second round of the presidential election, it will not be Macron against Le Pen, “he concludes.