On Tuesday, Nicolas Sarkozy took a stand in the French presidential election campaign: “Finally,” some newspapers commented, given that the former president of the republic had never spoken for Valerie Pecresse, the candidate of the party he founded. , Les Républicains (LR, right). Sarkozy has now published On his Twitter and Facebook accounts a text was announced in which he announced, against the official position taken by his political family in the polls, that he would vote in the second round of April 24 for Emmanuel Macron and against Marine Le Pen. Sarkozy’s decision creates many internal problems for LR, which already has to deal with the disastrous outcome of the first round and With a rather critical financial situation.
Sarkozy, after staying out of the spotlight categorically and not publicly supporting Pecres, published a long statement calling for Macron to vote. Sarkozy He speaks From “the necessary experience of the head of state in the face of a serious international crisis more complex than ever,” Macron’s economic project that prioritizes “action” and his “clear and unambiguous” European commitment.
But Sarkozy went further. In fact, he called for a response to Macron’s call after the results of the first round to create a “great political movement for unity and action”, in order to “invent something new to bring together different convictions and sensibilities”, thus returning strength to a coherent “Republican Front” against the far right.
By supporting and releasing the outgoing president’s proposal, Sarkozy actually opened up a future possibility for a broader reconfiguration of the political space which includes an agreement between the right and Macron’s supporters: “A new era is coming,” Sarkozy wrote. Once again: “It will require profound changes. It will be necessary to break out of party habits and reactions.” He added: “Loyalty to the values of the republican right and the culture of our government should prompt us to heed Emmanuel Macron’s call to demonstrate in light of the presidential election. As things stand, he is the only one capable of representation. The interest of France should be our only guide.”
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By making these statements, Sarkozy has effectively revitalized the divisions within his party.
LR, in the wake of the historic defeat of the first round, decided to express his unity and his mediocrity, asking not to vote for Le Pen but without saying vote for Macron: he therefore chose to reassert his independence from the outgoing president. and considering this independence a basic political condition for its political survival.
After the LR meeting from which the official position of the party came out in the second round, a group of leaders did not hide their frustration with the decisions taken. MP Guillaume Larrevie, who is coveting a coalition deal with Macron, has spoken out against the passed proposal. Mo Mayor Jean-François Cope, in turn, championed the idea of a “new government charter”.
On the other hand, the majority of LR elected officials reiterated the principle of party independence, and spoke of the need to remain in opposition in the event of a possible new mandate for Macron. “We will not join Macron at the time of the end of the Macron regime,” said the mayor of Troyes, François Barouin, for example. “In order to continue to exist, we must be independent,” added Annie Ginevard, second-ranked in the House of Representatives: “Macron wants to lead us towards one party, this is dangerous for the democratic system.” And Representative Julian Aubert: «The problem is not that Sarkozy is asking to vote for Macron, but that he responds to his call and proposes to end the penal code. It is Cronus who eats his children.” Finally, Bruno Ritaello, head of the LR in the Senate, downplayed the importance of Nicolas Sarkozy’s position “personally”: “We will not rebuild right by weakening ourselves in grandiosity. We will rebuild ourselves on fidelity to our convictions ».
Many observers question whether Sarkozy’s stance on the ballot will constitute a rupture with his political family, or whether many within the party will follow his indications instead.
However, some newspapers indicate that Sarkozy’s exit took place by agreement with Macron himself. to me mentioned from Le Monde, Macron received Nicolas Sarkozy ten days ago to discuss these “great maneuvers”. However, in the past five years, the two have strengthened their relationship: “A special relationship was established between them, consisting of mutual admiration and rivalry (…) regular phone calls, consultations on major issues, invitations to lunch at the Elysee ”, He writes Always Le Monde.
Emmanuel Macron, in 2017, avoided any definition, saying that he was “neither right nor left”, causing a crisis, above all, for the part of the moderate left that had collected its votes. Once he became president, Macron’s policies shifted decisively to the right: Observers say the outgoing president has felt for some time that his chances of re-election depended on his ability to seduce the right. So he made Sarkozy his best ally to weaken the Republicans and impede the rebuilding of the party. “He told me he could not be re-elected without us, he asked me to help him,” Sarkozy kept repeating for two years, imagining in the future a coalition agreement between La République En Marche and the right, in which you will find ample space for representation and political offices.
In recent weeks, Macron has doubled down on signs of interest in his predecessor. He invited him to lunch at the Elysee on January 28, his birthday, and recently mentioned him in an interview on le Figaro He said that he “finds himself” in what “President Sarkozy” “defended” on the issue of “work and merit”, and since entering the election campaign he has addressed some of his famous phrases. “President Macron’s gestures toward President Sarkozy have been carried out,” a Macron strategist was quoted as saying. Le Monde“The former has always thought that the latter should take a stand in his favour. Sarkozy alone leads with a million votes.
For his part, Macron welcomed Sarkozy’s statement: “I thank him for his trust and support. “It’s very important,” he said, revealing his excitement only a few hours later. Sarkozy’s statements may, in fact, be counterproductive for Macron, who has already won the first round with the votes of the right and who now, in order to win the ballot, needs above all to win back the votes of the left.
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