DECRYPTION. Xavier Bertrand puts the law against the wall

His exile was already like a first step: leaving Paris to better embody the France of the territories. 2022 … Xavier Bertrand has been preparing methodically for years. He chews on the bit because he knows the impatience that Nicolas Sarkozy condemned long before justice. Against his nature, he therefore for a long time refrained from intervening in national political life and plowing his northern land … He sowed at most a few seeds after the summer, at the mercy of an epidemic. But he didn’t know how to wait for the crisis to end to speak again.

Potential rivals want to fight

On Wednesday March 24th, in the midst of the surge in contamination, Xavier Bertrand announced his candidacy for the presidential election: “Yes, I will be a candidate,” he assured Le Point newspaper. “That’s done,” we imagine after rereading the last line of his interview as we plunge into the depths. Others, however, wonder at this strange point in time that makes this declaration of candidacy a non-event given the impending containment. Did Xavier Bertrand have a choice? Deprived of a regional campaign because of Covid-19, he had to start making his voice and vision of France heard, but also blocking his right-wing competitors. His candidacy ultimately had the opposite effect.

It was greeted freshly by LR Christian Jacob, who insisted on underlining: “Usually those who made our political family win the presidential election declare themselves in November and the votes crystallize in late February, the beginning Xavier made the decision to announce his candidacy earlier. “But most of all it has been the panic on the right since then. The potential rivals of the President of the Regional Council of Hauts de France remembered their desire to fight with surprise Former Brexit negotiator for the European Union, Michel Barnier, told the Ebra press group he had “the strength” to launch a campaign. Meanwhile, Laurent Wauquiez, who is at the helm of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, said he had his re-election began, the Parisian, he did not want to be “a spectator” of the political future also dreams of a candidacy, recalled that, unlike Xavier Bertrand, he would defend the idea of ​​a primary school. Valérie Pécresse, who refuses to speak about her own candidacy in the middle of the Covid crisis, assured last Sunday: “We have to choose between all those who want to be candidates on the right, so that we do at a certain point not just a cook, but also a dream team “. More surprisingly, on Friday, MEP Agnès Evren re-launched the idea of ​​a very unlikely Baroin candidacy: “Some candidates haven’t finally closed the door to running … François Baroin could be the man of the situation. . he ticks all the boxes, “she said. Aurélien Pradié, candidate for Regional in Occitanie, also believes in a possible candidacy for the mayor of Troyes: “Baroin is not a candidate … for now,” he slipped to La Dépêche a few days ago.

It must be said that the low score in Xavier Bertrand’s polls leaves the door open to all ambitions. He’s flirting with the 15% of voting intentions for the first round of the presidential election. In addition, the political line must be clarified for a number of LR.

In his interview with Le Point newspaper, the one who presents himself as a “social Gaullist, a social and popular right” presents three priorities: the restoration of authority: “The prerequisite for everything is the restoration of the authority of the state, it is the state Intransigence to our principles and values. The identity of France is non-negotiable, “it affirms before proposing the downgrading of the criminal majority after 15 years and the building of 20,000 prison places. Like Nicolas Sarkozy in his day, he defends the value of work, which “must again become essential, the cement of the nation. Work, merit, reward for effort, these values ​​must once again become a structuring element of our project. Of society “. Finally, Xavier Bertrand proposes “the establishment of the Republic of Territories, not a new level of decentralization but a real regime change in relation to our Constitution”. Not enough to shock the law, but the candidate avoids the economic issues that divide his former party today, particularly that of the reassessment of the minimum wage or universal income.

“Cut off from our base”

His departure from LR is also a problem. “He is cut off from our base: you will not support him. LR activists accuse him of leaving the party at the worst time (December 2017) when we all had to be united,” said an association chief who added: “Not to mention that they have trouble accepting his nod to Arnaud Montebourg.”

So if everyone on the right is hoping for a candidate for Providence, it doesn’t seem like Xavier Bertrand is. But by refusing to go to elementary school, he is still trying to win. But Gérard Larcher is watching and recently recalled that a tie-breaker would be decided in September if no natural candidate wins after the regional competition.