July 31, 2021

the right lays the foundations for a primary but does not close the door to Xavier Bertrand

They had thought of this meeting as a symbol of unity. A rally between figures of the right wishing to decide on the mode of nomination of the candidate of their political family for the presidential election of 2022.

Laurent Wauquiez, the president (Les Républicains, LR) of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Valérie Pécresse (Libres!), At the head of Ile-de-France, Bruno Retailleau, leader of the LR senators, Philippe Juvin, the mayor of La Garennes-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine), as well as the former European commissioner Michel Barnier met, Tuesday, July 20, in a windowless room at the Kimpton Saint-Honoré hotel, in Paris, to discuss the presidential election, in which everyone might want to participate. A family photo was even taken after the meeting.

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But of this, the televisions could not take account because the protagonists very quickly spun, even before being filmed by the cameras present. Like an image of this fleeting gathering, always difficult to achieve on the right.

With them were Christian Jacob, the boss of LR, Gérard Larcher, the president of the Senate, and the mayor of Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes), Jean Leonetti, who were able to report on the meeting. Responsible for reflecting on the organization of a designation process, the latter welcomed “Of a beautiful meeting which showed the responsibility that we all have”. “No one around the table wants to play an individual card, a losing card”, he added.

An inextricable equation

If they were keen to organize this event, it is because things are not easy on the right. At nine months of the presidential election, LR has neither candidate nor method of appointment of this one. The potential suitors? The party is not lacking in it. Evidenced by the affluence boulevard des Capucines, Tuesday. But to those who came to debate around the table, we must add a great absentee: Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region. He said it and repeated it: out of the question to participate in any selection process organized by the party to nominate its champion for 2022. The former Minister of Labor wishes to go there at all costs, preferably with his political family, against the candidate she will have appointed at the end of a primary if necessary.

Read our decryption: At Les Républicains, the war of nerves begins around the primary

Sign of his determination, Mr. Bertrand will meet Christian Jacob, Gérard Larcher and Jean Léonetti, but alone, far from the other suitors, Wednesday morning in the Senate. Satisfy everyone, find a single candidate behind which the entire right-wing political family could unite: this is the inextricable equation that the three politicians are trying to resolve. A challenge.

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