EXCLUSIVE – Guest this evening of the 8 p.m. newspaper of Gilles Bouleau, Xavier Bertrand reaffirmed being a candidate in 2022, but refuses to go through the primaries that several LR executives would like to organize.
“I am a candidate for the presidential election, in coherence I will not be a candidate for a primary”. This is how Xavier Bertrand confirmed his position regarding the organization of primaries within his party, during his interview by Gilles Bouleau at 8 p.m. on TF1. While LR’s political bureau met today to decide on the mode of designation of its candidate for the presidential elections in 2022, Xavier Bertrand had already indicated that he did not want to go through this mode of designation.
Several party executives, for their part, contested the nomination of a candidate without the vote of activists and supporters, believing they had their own chance in the process, such as Valérie Pécresse or Laurent Wauquiez. The political bureau has finally decided … to postpone the final decision on the method of appointment to September, if no “natural candidate” has emerged by then.
As soon as he was re-elected as president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand immediately planned on the presidential elections of 2022. Visiting Morcourt (Aisne) the day after the poll, he had digressed on “The French”, who “will say in ten months who is able to put an end to the disorder”. Regarding his potential opponents, Valérie Pécresse or Laurent Wauquiez in the lead, he also judged that there would be “enough to form a very good team of France”– without specifying of course who would be the captain. The same evening, the French football team would be eliminated from the Euro, and that would be the end of this practical metaphor.
Said opponents would not so easily validate Xavier Bertrand as the “natural candidate” that the right is looking for itself since the withdrawal of Nicolas Sarkozy. This Monday, Valérie Pécresse, Laurent Wauquiez, Bruno Retailleau and Hervé Morin thus signed a common platform in the Figaro, calling for a distinction between the contenders by the organization of an open primary of the right and the center. “The providential man or woman that some hoped for did not impose himself”, implicitly tackling Xavier Bertrand with a good heart and in concert.
The specter of the “losing machine”?
The political office of Les Républicains, organized this Tuesday evening, was therefore expected to decide between the two camps, for or against the primaries. The fear of LR management being, as Jean Leonetti says, “wild competition and solo adventures”, that is to say a multiplication of candidates and a dispersion of right-wing votes. Christian Jacob, at the end of the proceedings this evening, dismissed all the suitors “to agree” by September. It is therefore at the start of the school year, if the summer has not brought them together, that the barons of LR will decide on a nomination process – by vote, or even by poll.
Candidate for a single mandate
Less than an hour later, invited to Gilles Bouleau’s 20h set, Xavier Bertrand hammered his opposition to this process. Repeating that he would not be a candidate for a primary, the boss of the Hauts-de-France region wanted to be sure of his strength: “I am convinced that the candidate of the Republican right, there will be only one, (…) and that he will win the presidential election”.
More unexpectedly, Xavier Bertrand declared himself a “candidate for a single term”, in line with his opposition to the renewable five-year term. This is the only way, according to him, to achieve a mandate without partisan calculation, “by being accountable only to the French”. It is to meet the French that he says he now wants to leave, this summer, because “there is no more time to waste”.
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