Primary “open” to two rounds or congress reserved for Republicans only? The activists of the right-wing party will determine it this Saturday, during a digital congress. In any case, this decision will conclude an important week for the party, with a view to the 2022 presidential election.
On Wednesday, Christian Jacob, boss of the Republicans, unveiled the result of a vast opinion poll giving, with a short head, the advantage to Xavier Bertrand in the race for the presidency. “The results are clear” since Xavier Bertrand (ex-LR) “comes in first”, even if, “moreover, the gaps are tight,” he said.
This vast survey, carried out among 15,000 right-wing supporters, gives Xavier Bertrand an advance in terms of credibility on several sovereign subjects (security, delinquency, immigration, etc.), but Valérie Pécresse is not very far behind: especially among the LR sympathizers, it collects 81% of good opinions, against 79% to its rival.
“The real meeting will be January”
“Xavier Bertrand is in the best position to win,” said MP Pierre-Henri Dumont, close to the president of Hauts-de-France. “He’s ahead, but Valérie Pécresse is behind him and Barnier is installed in record time as the third man. Things will have to be settled little by little, ”summed up the mayor of Meaux Jean-François Cope, estimating that“ the real meeting will be January ”. LR hopes to have a candidate in early December.
In the meantime, the activists, who meet in digital congress this Saturday, will have to choose the new mode of designation. Will it be a two-turn primary, “By a process open to all sympathizers who identify with the values of the right and the center” and accepting to be registered “in a nominative file”? The other option is “a congress reserved for LR activists only”, registered up to 15 days before the election, and also in two rounds.
The possibility of opening the vote to activists from “friendly” formations of the right and the center, defended in the Pécresse camp, has been ruled out (LR has just over 82,000 members). “If we do not open in solution n ° 2, it can be very, very limited,” lamented Senator Roger Karoutchi.
A “prevention” procedure to avoid a Fillon bis
Xavier Bertrand could he put himself in the ranks of a congress, he who refuses any primary? According to Christian Jacob, Senator Dominique Estrosi-Sassone in particular, close to the president of Hauts-de-France, “said that Xavier Bertrand, in the congress formula, was ready to submit to it”.
If there was a natural candidate, there would be no need for all these procedures …
As for the hypothesis that only one name is put to the vote of the militants, evoked with hint in the Bertrand camp, “I think that they will be several to request” the investiture of the party as soon as they have 250 sponsorships, assured Christian Jacob, “unless everyone gives up and only one remains”. “I am very attached to the choice of activists, we will not organize on a corner of the table” the choice of the candidate, he added. But “if there was a natural candidate, there would be no need for all these procedures,” he said, while LR has been hoping – in vain – for months that a candidate emerges.
And to avoid repeating the accident of 2017, when François Fillon, already a candidate, had been indicted in the Penelopegate and had started a fall in the polls, LR now intends to have a “prevention procedure”. As part of a revision of the statutes, it provides that if the chosen candidate “cannot, for whatever reason, remain the bearer of this choice, the procedure could be (…) again initiated”.