The days after the election follow and look alike within the Les Républicains (LR) party. A kind of ballet-like ritual executed to the millimeter by the executives who know all the gestures to perfection. Now accustomed to national defeats, the party first counts its fallen soldiers, rejoices to have saved more than the predictions let imagine, then comes together to try – in vain – to stifle the umpteenth divisions to come. .
Monday, June 13, the day after the first round of the legislative election, was no exception to the rule. Firstly because the party, which is now only a shadow of itself, has certainly suffered a historic defeat (11.30% of the vote) – its lot for a few years – but has saved the furniture account given the catastrophic result of the presidential election (4.78% for its candidate, Valérie Pécresse). And if they are only 73 qualified in the second round, according to the accounts of LR, against more than 200 in 2017, the candidates who remain are more likely to resist than in the previous ballot. The right thus has the hope of saving its figures and keeping a group of around sixty deputies.
Then because, as usual, the party has brought together its strategic council to discuss the follow-up and the direction to be taken. However, once again, the formation on the right is in danger of tearing itself apart, under cover of a front unity. Thus, with a potentially larger group than expected and above all a hypothetical relative majority for Macronie, LR could have, despite its shrinking, an unexpected central role in the next legislature.
Within the party, we readily imagine a government forced to negotiate step by step with it to get its texts voted on. The opportunity, explained Monday Christian Jacob, president of LR, on the sidelines of the strategic council, to be “a determined but useful opposition”. “Macron will have to listen and will no longer lead alone”, imagines the former deputy of Seine-et-Marne. Who specifies that the right could become a “force of proposal” capable of “correcting the texts, making them move” and “reforming the country”.
A vision that risks, however, not to be to everyone’s taste. Officially, the members of the strategic committee present on Monday, with the exception of the defeated vice-president in Saône-et-Loire, Gilles Platret, all agreed. Still, a certain number were missing, who could not express themselves or give their opinion. Among those absent, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, or the outgoing deputy qualified for the second round in the Alpes-Maritimes, Eric Ciotti. Destined to play an important role in the future of their party, the latter two may not accept that the parliamentary group of the National Assembly votes anything with Emmanuel Macron.
If Mr. Ciotti were to take the lead of the group, as some imagine, there is little chance that LR will become a proxy for the Macronist forces. Mr. Wauquiez is not a deputy, but he, who has presidential ambitions for 2027, has no interest in his political family supporting Macronie either.
Conversely, the mayor of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), Jean-François Copé, has much less modesty. “The question will arise for LR: should, in the name of the higher interest of France, we have to demand that a certain number of reforms be implemented, or even perhaps possibly participate in them? “, questioned on France 2 the one who had already called to seize the outstretched hand of Emmanuel Macron after the first round of the presidential election. However, Christian Jacob specified “without coalition”. The deputies, first concerned, will do, according to their personal equation and their convictions. Some are already looking favorably on a possible agreement.
The situation that puts the right back in the game is, once again, a potential poisonous gift bringing divisions to come. It is that it is a question, with this possibility of “pivotal group” and the way of managing it, again and again, of the coexistence within LR of several potentially contradictory lines but between which it will be necessary to decide . In this respect, the election at the head of the future group could serve as a generalized catharsis, and therefore a long-awaited clarification. If they are divided on the attitude to take towards the government, the LR deputies could, fear it eminent executives, split in two and begin the implosion of the party.