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With 122,000 enrolled in their primary, environmentalists want to believe in a dynamic

More than 122,000 people have registered for the primary which will nominate the ecological candidate for the presidential election of 2022. A participation record which leaves suspense on the outcome of the vote and which, according to Europe Écologie-Les Verts, co-organizer of the poll , could create a positive dynamic.

If Arnaud Montebourg had not already adopted the expression, environmentalists could speak of “remountada”. For a long time they feared mobilizing only the small circle of their militants. There were only 35,000 registered ten days ago. But at the end of a last week of registration campaign, 122,670 voters will participate in the primary of environmentalists, whose first round will take place, online, from September 16 to 19, and the second from September 25 to 28.

“It’s a first step and it’s a success!”, Says Sandra Regol, number 2 of the Europe Ecology-The Greens party (EELV), contacted by France 24. “Five years ago, there were 17 000 participants. Our record, in 2011 with Nicolas Hulot, was 32,000. There, we have more than double the last two primary together. It is considerable. “

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The performance is all the more surprising given that the media context was not favorable. Between the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan during the summer, the start of the trial of the November 13 attacks, the twentieth anniversary of September 11 or even the announcements of the candidacies of Arnaud Montebourg or Anne Hidalgo, he There was not much room left for the candidates for the primary environmentalists to exist.

Three televised or online debates in one week (September 5 on franceinfo, September 8 on LCI, September 10 on Mediapart) made this primary a little more visible. And above all, the five candidates – Delphine Batho, Jean-Marc Governatori, Yannick Jadot, Éric Piolle, Sandrine Rousseau – have increased the number of trips in the days preceding the closing of registrations to encourage as many voters as possible to participate in the ballot.

“The big winner ecology of this primary”

“We see that there is a real interest in ecology, and it is ecology which is first of all the big winner of this primary, continues Sandra Regol. We are far beyond our circle of activists. , therefore clearly, it is a theme which has succeeded in establishing itself in public debates and which mobilizes people across France. “

Environmental leaders want to believe in a dynamic that began with Yannick Jadot’s good score in the 2019 European elections and continued with the capture of several important cities, such as Lyon, Strasbourg or Bordeaux, in the 2020 municipal elections.

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But for Daniel Boy, director of research emeritus at Cevipof and specialist in political ecology, contacted by France 24, two other elements were undoubtedly important factors to explain the large number of enrolled in the primary of environmentalists.

“There are first of all the almost daily announcements of natural disasters which maintain tension on this ecologist-environmental theme and which promote awareness among the population, explains the researcher. And there is also a more political element: Ecologists hold a primary when almost all other parties refuse, for various reasons, and there are perhaps left-wing voters who reward them for having maintained a democratic logic in choosing their candidate for the presidential election. “

The argument of the number of registered members may in any case weigh heavily when possible discussions with the Socialist Party for a common candidacy begin. While Yannick Jadot had made the choice to withdraw in 2017 in favor of the socialist Benoît Hamon, he and all the other candidates for the ecological primary affirm that this time they will go to the end.

Ecology, a theme that has become “mainstream”

Problem: the future winner of the primary will not be the only one, during the presidential campaign, to speak of ecology or environmental protection. From the ecological planning of Jean-Luc Mélenchon to the “localism” of Marine Le Pen, through the “pragmatic ecology” of the Republicans, all the candidates have now understood that they had to raise this question and put proposals on the table. .

“Ecology does not belong to a single party nor does it constitute a program on its own,” wrote the declared socialist presidential candidate, Anne Hidalgo, in her book to be published on September 15, “A woman French “(editions of the Observatory).

“This shows first of all that we have won the cultural battle by imposing the environment and the climate in the public debate,” said Sandra Regol, who does not consider the other candidates who “green” their program as a threat. “Today there is an expectation of action and results. So our message will consist in saying: ‘there is no ecology without ecologists’. We have seen it with Emmanuel Macron and the appointment of Nicolas Hulot [au ministère de la Transition écologique] : putting an ecologist in the management of daisies, that’s not enough. Even justice says it, since the French state was condemned because it had not done its work in ecological matters. “

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It remains to be seen which candidate will be acclaimed during this green primary which has a habit of reserving surprises by putting down the favorite: in 2016, the former minister Cécile Duflot was beaten by Yannick Jadot, while in 2011, Eva Joly had won against the very media Nicolas Hulot.

“The choice of voters will partly depend on the political space of the future candidate of the Greens, underlines Daniel Boy. It is certain that the ecofeminism carried by Sandrine Rousseau or the degrowth supported by Delphine Batho are political niches more difficult to widen than those by Yannick Jadot or Éric Piolle. “

If on the side of Europe Ecology-The Greens, we admit that the suspense is complete, we especially remember the excellent behavior of the candidates during the debates, who “did not sink into invectives”. Regardless of the identity of the future winner, for Sandra Regol it is the collective which must prevail thanks to contenders “both different and complementary”. The results of the first round, at the end of the week, will tell if the team spirit remains for the second round.