The meeting was given on a pretty shaded square in the village of Cogolin, on the heights of Saint-Tropez (Var), in a restaurant appropriately called Chez Nous. This is where the Reconquest! learned of the defeat of their candidate, Eric Zemmour, on Sunday June 12, in an atmosphere of the end of the fair.

A little before 8 p.m., while awaiting the results, a hundred “fans” had gathered in front of the establishment, starting the bottles of rosé and refusing to believe the rumors of defeat. Families, retirees, and very young people looking for each other in the small crowd, shouting “Gen Z!” (Generation Z). The slap was first national: 4.25% across the country, the figures are displayed roughly on the television screen connected to CNews for the occasion. In the square, around the fountain, we first heard cries: “But they are crazy, people! “, “What do they want? Put the veil on all of us? “, “Me, I’m out! »

For some, there remained the hope of seeing their herald enter the Assembly, in a constituency which had granted him in some cities a score three times higher than at the national level during the first round of the presidential election on April 10. . But an hour later, the verdict falls: there too, the transplant did not take, as for all the candidates of Reconquest! to the legislative ones. It is the mayor of Cogolin who announces the elimination of their colt to militants who are still incredulous. The same mayor who previously hosted the candidate in the town. In third position, with 23.19% of the vote, the far-right candidate does not meet 12.5% ​​of those registered in his name, the minimum threshold to be able to qualify. He therefore finds himself distanced by the macronist Sereine Mauborgne (28.51%) and the pretender of the National Rally (RN) Philippe Lottiaux, who collects 24.74% of the vote.

A voter in a beige shirt turns to his relatives: “I don’t know what to tell them to the journalists, we’re on our ass, that’s it. “It’s not possible,” gets angry Stéphane, a 51-year-old employee in the Toulon harbor. He shows his daughters, two tearful young women on a bench. “I’m doing this for them. People have become calves, they don’t want to work anymore, they just want to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. He castigates “the start-up nation” which sells “only wind”, losing “little by little its industrial autonomy”.

Search for culprits

Above the square, residents are closing their shutters. Young people watch the scene through the window, shaking their heads. “All around, people in turbans are going to celebrate,” said Gisèle, 64, annoyed. She claims to have spent the last years of her professional life walking 19 kilometers to get to the factory where she worked at night. Activists try to calm her down. “Watch out for the insults, the cameras are recording everything, and the journalists love it!” »

Everywhere, we are looking for the culprits. Rumor has it that only 800 small voices separate the polemicist from his navy blue rival, Philippe Lottiaux. Eric Zemmour himself, in his defeat speech delivered under the plane trees, said it: if all of the Var had voted like Cogolin, he would surely soon be a deputy. Marie-Hélène, beside herself, thinks that the fault lies “with the people who saw the good weather and went to the beach”.

Franck Papillon, who represents the party on the coast, is angry with him “to the golden youth of Saint-Tropez, these sons of bourgeois who did not come to vote”. “Let them vote for whoever they want, but let them come and vote, damn it!” “, gets angry this real estate developer who claims to have seen “only old people, and sometimes even disabled people” go to the polls all day. The former Sarkozyist was conquered by the “character” of Eric Zemmour, a “brilliant, galvanizing” man: “Those who are in their comfort and who do not vote, they do not have to come and complain afterwards. Others blame the Haut-Var, this hinterland far from the coast which preferred the RN to Reconquest!. “It’s a lame and disparate department, and we pay the costs of this unnatural division,” said Laëtitia, a 50-year-old activist.

Suddenly, the installation for the sound system seems disproportionate. The speech of defeat was dignified, but brief. The somewhat stunned activists finish the cheese platters hoping that their candidate will come out of the restaurant where he has taken refuge. They call it, chant “Hip, hip, hip, hooray!” “. Nothing. Inside, the Reconquest leader’s companion! tries to console him by stroking his hair. Outside, a child cries, a bottle of rosé falls, young women exchange numbers and promise to meet again. A “Gen Z” teenager snuggles into his mother’s arms. Laëtitia, she tries to stay positive: “Whatever happens, we are here to stay. »