For the Animalist Party, the wait for the results was long. When the televisions give the first estimates, at 8 p.m., Sunday June 12, the frustration is great among the fifty activists and candidates gathered in a bar in the 13th arrondissement of Paris: “Where are we? According to the prefectures, the party was classified under the “various ecologists” or in the category “others”. Burst between these labels, impossible for the training to estimate its results. The official count of the Ministry of the Interior, published overnight, does not allow us to get out of the blur, giving no precise score to the party. It is then necessary to count the results constituency by constituency to know the total number of voters. According to the results compiled by Le Monde, the Animalist Party obtained, on Sunday, 255,712 votes, or 1.125% of the total votes cast at the national level. A score up compared to the legislative elections of 2017 (63,637 votes, or 0.28% of the votes), but lower than that of the European elections of 2019 (490,074 votes, or 2.16%).
“Of course we would have hoped to do more in view of our dynamic, but not all elections are comparable, reacts Hélène Thouy, co-president of the Animalist Party. For us, what was important was to be present in as many constituencies as possible. For this election, the party had invested some 420 candidates, three times more than in 2017 (147), covering three quarters of the constituencies. “We particularly wanted to tow and [to] put up our posters in very rural areas,” continues Ms. Thouy. It got people talking and [it] made it possible to show that the animal cause concerns everyone. »
However, this larger mesh was not enough to get the formation off the ground. And although the Animalist Party has gained in visibility and media coverage compared to previous elections, “there was probably a useful voting effect, in particular from citizens who made the choice to vote on social issues first” , analyzes Laurence Volbart, party delegate for Ile-de-France, herself a candidate in Paris. The Animalist Party, however, harbored the hope of exceeding its European score. “These are different polls, it will take time to analyze the results. But for the European elections, which may seem like a ballot with less direct stakes, the French may have voted more on a whim than for the legislative elections, ”says Dayana Bonilla, candidate in the 4th constituency of Paris (straddling the 16th and 17th arrondissements).
Become a “small-medium” party
For Catherine Helayel, spokesperson who presented herself in the Eure, these results are a “small disappointment” and are also explained by the small means of the party. “Each candidate took care of putting up their own posters. Of the 200 billboards in my constituency, I only managed to put up 120 posters, while I traveled more than 500 kilometers. Muriel Fusi, also a spokesperson and candidate in the 13th constituency of Paris (part of the 15th arrondissement), cites another logistical weakness: the absence of ballots and professions of faith in the name of the movement in the electoral envelopes sent by The post office. “Because we didn’t have a sufficient budget, we only sent the professions of faith to three test districts,” explains Ms. Fusi. However, we realize that this matters a lot, and in these three constituencies, we obtained higher scores. »
The Animalist Party advances, however, several reasons for satisfaction, such as having exceeded 1% of the votes in 369 constituencies, and even 3% in five constituencies (in Pas-de-Calais, in Oise, and in three northern constituencies). Because of these results, “we are sure that we will have higher public funding for the next few years”, welcomes Muriel Fusi, especially since in 2017 the party had been penalized by a third of aid for not – respect for parity… for presenting too many women. This time, the training involved as many men as women. “Obtaining more financial aid should help us to have more paid staff and to progress in our territorial network, hopes Enrico Eusebi, correspondent for the Animalist Party in Val-d’Oise. The objective is for us to become a “small-medium” party rather than a “small party”. »
For many animalist candidates, for whom this was their first political campaign, the results remain positive. “We were asked a lot of questions during the towing operations, reports Dayana Bonilla, a 34-year-old Franco-Colombian entrepreneur. Even if they did not always agree with us, the people we met realized that we have arguments to put forward. »
For Hélène Thouy, the challenge will be to continue preparing for the next elections, starting with the European elections of 2024. “We are not a party that disappears between each election, we must continue to be present on the ground, we have still reasons to exist for a few years. According to the lawyer from Gironde, one of the key projects will be to work on institutional reforms. “If the citizens’ initiative referendum were possible, I am sure that we would manage to ban bullfighting or other practices that the French massively reject. »