Closed primary of the right: the risk of drift

Everything is in place for the separation of the candidate from the right for the presidential election. All that was missing was the agreement of Xavier Bertrand. It is done. The president of Hauts-de-France agrees to participate in the competition.

Michel Barnier in April 2021 in Le Touquet

The designation will take place between December 1 and 4. 

It is in a very long time on the scale of the accelerated time of zemmouristan , this largely occupied zone of the right! Xavier Bertrand, who deplores this delay, is however the main responsible, with Christian Jacob. Christian Jacob was initially slow to initiate the tie-breaker process to give himself time to convince his candidate of heart, François Baroin… But the mayor of Troyes has never changed his mind… he is not a candidate.

Then Xavier Bertrand refused the primary because he thought to kill the match thanks to the polls. The match was alive and well, Bertrand never became obvious! Morality LR finds himself organizing an internal and late primary. Only members can participate. So far some 80,000 cards. 

Memberships are open until November 16. The organizers hope for more than 100,000 voters. You might as well say that each candidate is working to get his supporters to join. Valérie Pécresse, Xavier Bertrand, Eric Ciotti and Michel Barnier have a strong local anchoring (Ile de France, Hauts de France Alpes Maritimes and Savoie), the origin of the new memberships will inform the LR dignitaries on the internal dynamics. 

But the experience of all primaries, from the primary by the membership of the PS in 2007 to the open socialist primaries of 2012 and the PS and UMP of 2017, show that it is very complicated to distinguish the favorite.   

LR activists are considered more to the right than the electorate of this camp

Yes, older, richer, less urban than the entire right-wing electorate, the profile of the activists will weigh on the positioning of the candidates. Besides, it can already be seen. Valérie Pécresse, Xavier Bertrand and even Michel Barnier (who nevertheless takes care of his stature as a statesman) are in full authoritarian and security drift. They formulate proposals that they castigated two years ago when it was Laurent Wauquiez, then at the head of the party, who was the author. 

The most astonishing is Michel Barnier, who now serves as the favorite in the internal ballot. 

The former European commissioner, reputed to be moderate, now wants to establish a scabrous (and certainly inapplicable) moratorium on immigration, from three to five years, even if it means challenging the primacy of European law … calculation? It would reflect the evolution of society according to the candidates. To have… 

For the moment, Eric Zemmour takes especially to Marine Le Pen. The far-right total, admittedly very high, remains roughly the same! Emmanuel Macron can rejoice. The center-right, a relatively discreet segment of the electorate and yet still decisive for the presidential election is now explicitly represented by Edouard Philippe. So (in 2022) on behalf of the president. LR seems decided to follow the march of the PS… towards the exit of the national political history (if not local) of the country.