In June or after the presidential election? Uncertainties about the date of the regional elections due to the coronavirus epidemic are disrupting party plans. In particular, the Republicans and the Socialist Party, who relied on the ballot as a stepping stone for 2022.
Regional and departmental elections should have taken place in March, more than a year before the presidential election.
The Senate is trying to secure the postponement in June
At the beginning of November, the former President of the Constitutional Council, Jean-Louis Debré, recommended a postponement of three months to June in a report drawn up at the request of the government and which led to a draft law, and submitted to Parliament at the beginning of the year.
During a senatorial hearing last week, he called for the June elections to be organized and warned of the risk of a “political pandemic” if the election were postponed.
A right-majority Senate message on Wednesday attempted to “secure” the June committee vote by suspending April’s review clause in the bill, while many elected officials alerted the unconstitutionality of an 18 month long Postponement of the elections.
Macron accused of postponing election reasons
Majority and opposition accuse each other of approaching this election with political ulterior motives.
Senator PS Patrick Kanner accused Emmanuel Macron of postponing this election to a later date because “he saw the disastrous results of the local elections for him and knows that there will be no president of a department or region who will do this. ” would be of his political sensitivity “.
“We shouldn’t be afraid of the voters,” affirmed Renaud Muselier, President LR of the French Regions, who called for “democracy to breathe” and not to postpone it indefinitely.
“More than one said that they will not take place in June, Macron is dying for purely electoral reasons,” explains LR number three Aurélien Pradié. Jean-Christophe Lagarde, President of the UDI, shares this opinion: the majority fears “a catastrophic fight”.
She denies it: “Do not believe LR in the fact that we are dictators who want to cancel the elections! It’s annoying! The elections must absolutely take place in June,” replied one of the AFP.
However, the majority are still not looking for their head of the list without difficulty: According to France Inter, the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer would have given up being an LREM candidate in Ile-de-France.
LR and PS are heavily dependent on the region
Critics aimed at the majority come from the “old world,” notes Eric Bréhier, director of the Political Observatory of the Jean Jaurès Foundation, regarding the traditional parties, which, unlike LREM, have strong territorial roots.
At LR, the outgoing presidents of the region, Xavier Bertrand (Hauts-de-France), Valérie Pécresse (Ile-de-France) or Laurent Wauquiez (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), all potential candidates in 2022, are waiting for these elections, to bolster their election candidacy, while a good result from Audrey Pulvar left in Île-de-France could bolster the national ambitions of Anne Hidalgo, the socialist mayor of Paris.
“These parties have fallen into a trap as a result of the overflow or absence of candidates who are considered credible in the presidential election,” commented Bréhier. “They expect the region to answer a question they don’t want to decide,” he added, skeptical of the possibility that this vote would decide the candidates at LR. “If Bertrand, Pécresse and Wauquiez are all three re-elected, the problem will remain unsolved at LR,” he predicts.
“As for the left, there will not be an element strong enough in these regions to provide evidence for the election,” he added.
A year before the presidential election
“What importance should be attached to these regions in the midst of a health and economic crisis and less than a year before the presidential election?” Asks a source on the left who does not hesitate to portray this election as a “plague”. which will disrupt the road until 2022.
In the absence of LR and PS candidates, it is those who have already declared themselves Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon who occupy the field, or Arnaud Montebourg, with the formation of a party to support his candidacy. “There is no regional issue” for them and for Emmanuel Macron when he wants to represent himself, notes Bréhier.