The French right is chestnuts after the good results obtained in the first round of the regional and departmental elections held on Sunday and is already dreaming of the presidential elections in 2022. The second round will be held next Sunday.
“We are, and by far, the first party in France,” said Christian Jacob, president of Los Republicanos, a day after the conservative party was the most supported by citizens, winning 28.4% of the ballots. The three regional candidates on the right with presidential ambitions – Xavier Bertrand, Valérie Pécresse and Laurent Wauquiez – trust that these elections will serve as a springboard to achieve the conservative candidacy in the race for the Elysee.
Regroupación Nacional, Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, was the second most voted with 19.3% of the electorate’s support, followed by the Socialist Party (15.8%), Europa Ecología-Los Verdes (12.5%) , La República en Marcha (11.2%) of the president, Emmanuel Macron, and La Francia Insumisa (4.2%), which could be compared with the Spanish United We Can.
Jacob recalled that, before those elections were held, many politicians and analysts spoke of the decline of the Republicans, “torn between the National Regroup and Emmanuel Macron.” But this appointment with the polls has shown, according to him, “the resounding and categorical defeat of these two forces.”
According to the conservative leader, Le Pen’s party “is sinking” and La República en Marcha has shown its “inability to establish itself in the territories.” Macron was the great loser of these elections, failing to place any of his candidates in the wing region and only succeeding in passing the 10% vote required to be in the second round in eight territories.
Macron-Le Pen duel
The president of the Socialist Party, Oliver Faure, considered, for his part, that the results of the first round have made clear “one thing that until now seemed implausible: we are not condemned to live the next year of the Macron-Le Pen duel.” predicted so far by all polls.
National Regrouping, which polls led in six of the thirteen French regions, ultimately only managed to take the lead in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA), the region in southeastern France that includes Nice and Marseille. There the far-right Thierry Marinari obtained 36.38% of the votes in the first round, followed closely by the conservative Renaud Muselier, with 31.91%.
Pressured by his own party and by the socialists, the environmentalist Jean-Laurent Félizia, third with 16.89% of the support, will not run for the second round. Félizia does not want to “play with fire”, which is why she will vote for the conservative Muselier this coming Sunday. The objective: to defeat Marinari and thus prevent the extreme right from ruling a region in France for the first time.
The first round of the regionals was marked by a record abstention of 66.74%, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. Prime Minister Jean Castex urged French citizens to go to polling stations in the second round. “Making abstention win is making democracy lose,” Castex wrote on Twitter, who considered it necessary to “collectively fight” the census withdrawal. “Next Sunday, vote,” asked the prime minister.