Five candidates, two rounds, and… 148,862 voters. Two weeks before the Les Républicains (LR) party congress, which will be held from 1is on December 4 and during which the members will nominate their candidate for the presidential election, the electorate is now known. The deadline for registration was midnight, Tuesday, November 16.
This figure of 148,862, formalized by the party on Wednesday, is a first satisfaction for the movement chaired by Christian Jacob. He found some of his lost limbs after more than ten years of almost uninterrupted bleeding. The UMP had 370,000 members after Nicolas Sarkozy’s victory in the presidential election in 2007. LR, which succeeded him, had only 240,000 in 2016 and 80,000 in September 2021. This increase of nearly of 70,000 members in a few weeks makes this internal ballot even more indecisive. Xavier Bertrand, Valérie Pécresse, Michel Barnier, Eric Ciotti or Philippe Juvin, which candidate will benefit from this increase? No one in the party dares to make a prognosis.
This is the choice, made in September, of holding a congress – reserved for LR members up to date with contributions – instead of a primary open to all French signatories of a charter, as in 2016, which pushed many right-wing supporters to take or take back their cards. In Paris, the federation wanted to take advantage “From this firing window to revive memberships”, explain to World its president, Agnès Evren. A series of actions has been put in place to bring back former members or to find new ones: canvassing by telephone, email reminders, hauling on the markets, etc.
“We feel a momentum”
In a few weeks, the federation went from 4,100 people up to date with contributions to more than 10,000. “This increase is largely explained by the return of former members from 2018 and 2019”, we loveme Evren, who also welcomes the return of voters who turned to Emmanuel Macron. “They are very disappointed, they did not find what they were looking for by voting for him”, she explains, perceiving there “A return to the fundamentals of the right” among these sympathizers.
But this development does not only affect the large federations. In the Landes too, historic bastion of the Socialist Party, we have seen the arrival of new members. From 400 at the end of August, the Landes section crossed the 700 member mark before the deadline. “A few months ago, we had little feedback on our actions, but, since the announcement of the congress, we have felt an enthusiasm, a momentum”, explains Arnaud Tauzin, mayor of Saint-Sever and departmental secretary. According to him, this movement is explained by the will of right-wing activists to “Choose their presidential candidate”. Also settled “For them the idea that work-study training in 2022 is possible thanks to LR”. A feeling shared by all the party executives questioned.
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