FACT OF THE DAY Presidential: on your marks, get set, row!

(Illustrative photo Coralie Mollaret)

With an abstention rate that could break records next Sunday, the Presidential 2022 looks uncertain. In the Gard, the candidate teams are throwing their last strength into the campaign, hoping to make their champion triumph.

Seven days separate the voters from the first round of the Presidential 2022. Public meetings, tracts on the markets and door-to-door… In the Gard, the activists are finishing a flash campaign. Every day counts to try to convince the voters who, five years ago, had placed the candidate at the head of the first round national rally Marine Le Pen (29%) and the leader of the France InsoumiseJean-Luc Melenchon (21%).

Long-term campaign at The Republicans

For the Republican Right, the campaign was long. Very long. Five months ago, elected officials and activists immersed themselves in the Presidential with the organization of the LR congress, from which the president of the Île-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, emerged victorious. From then on, the great regional speaker and first deputy from Nîmes, Julien Plantier, went on the hunt for 500 sponsorships. Holding the largest cities in the Gard – Nîmes and Alès – the Republicans’ quest will have been a formality. But the activists did better by transforming it into a show of force: with 32 signatures, Valérie Pécresse is at the head of sponsorships in the Gard.

Valérie Pecresse meeting Nîmes (Photo Yannick Pons)

Meeting in Nîmes of their candidate, meeting in Petite Camargue with the arrival of Éric Ciotti… The Republicans we do the job, even if the enthusiasm is not always there. Stuck between Emmanuel Macron – some of whose proposals are similar – and the far-right through Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse is struggling to stand out. On the markets or in their networks, the key word of the Republicans will be to convince: “ We have to get this election, it’s not over! We are the only ones able to govern “, defends the lawyer and adviser to Valérie Pécresse, Thibault de Montbrial.

On the Right, the stakes are high: getting ahead of the candidate Reconquest!Éric Zemmour, who burst into the ballot. Once again, the Republican Right is gambling on its survival. Five years ago, in the first round of the Presidential, François Fillon had achieved 17% in the Gard against 20% nationally.

The pro-Zemmour want to create a surprise

The arrival of Éric Zemmour, in Nîmes in October, gave the “the” of his electoral campaign in the Gard. If officially the polemicist came to present his new book France has not said its last word (Rubempré edition), unofficially the undeclared candidate came to prepare the ground. At the maneuver, the former deputy of the team of the mayor of Nîmes, the ex-Republican Marc Taulelle who now claims 1,800 militants. A campaign which, in the department, also saw the rallying of the Euro-deputy Gilbert Collard.

When Éric Zemmour comes to Nîmes in October 2021 (Photo: Boris Boutet)

This week, the pro-Zemmour will cross the Rhône to go to the Marion Maréchal meeting in Avignon. Enough to give them the last strength in the campaign: “ Our goal is clear: turn the tables! We don’t believe in the poll and the new Macron-Le Pen match “, comments Marc Taulelle whose first objective is to arrive ” in front of Les Républicains, because after the proclamation of the results at 8 p.m., a new recomposition of the Right will take place “.

Flash campaign for the Socialist Party

At the Socialist Party, the Gard campaign for Anne Hidalgo was short: “ The health crisis and the war in Ukraine disrupted it “Comments Arnaud Bord, first federal. Credited with 2% in the voting intentions, the Socialists hope to make the polls lie: “ youne significant part of voters does not yet know who to vote for, they are very undecided. They begin to think about their choices by watching the programs… », continues Arnaud Bord. On the markets or during public meetings – one is scheduled on health this Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Vauvert – activists will try to reverse the trend and avoid “the useful vote”.

The socialists of Gard leaving for the meeting of Anne Hidalgo in Toulouse (photo: reserved rights)

In 2017, the PS candidate, Benoît Hamon, had made 6% (and 4.8% in the Gard). Many Left voters who voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whom they felt capable of winning. Like the Republican Right, the situation of the PS at the national level is different from that at the local level. A new deal since the advent of Emmanuel Macron in 2017. During the last local, the union of left parties allowed the parties to keep the Departmental and Regional Council.

The Insoumis and “the useful vote”

Since December 2020, the date of the declaration of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s candidacy for the Presidential, the Insoumis have regularly organized actions. Beyond the traditional public meetings, the Insoumis are mobilized during events such as the Taf fair or the demonstrations against the creation of the Sablas zone. A long-term job to permanently register Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

During a towing in front of the halls (Photo: all rights reserved)

If the movement did not shine in the last municipal elections, Jean-Luc Mélenchon came second in the first round of the 2017 Presidential in the Gard (with 21% against 19.5% nationally) and first in Nîmes ( 23.99%). Main campaign argument of the Insoumis: the useful vote. “ The stakes are much higher today than they were before. Voting Jean-Luc Mélenchon means giving yourself a chance to see the Left in the second round of the Presidential “, pleads their spokesperson, Nicolas Pellegrini. This week, the Insoumis intend to mobilize abstainers, especially those in working-class neighborhoods.

The communists remain combative

In the Communist Party, we know how to campaign. Press conference, public meetings, designation of leaders in all the constituencies… Their only failure would perhaps be not to see their candidate Fabien Roussel received in the Gard, a department which still has a few PCF elected officials: “ He held big regional meetings to allow all the activists to move there. The Presidential is also a question of cost Said Christian Bastid, elected PCF departmental. And sometimes also a matter of blows.

The leaders of the first and sixth constituency of Gard: Chantale Milesi, Christian country houseDenis Lanoy and Pascale Bouyahmed (Photo: Coralie Mollaret)

Despite the party’s know-how, their candidate is lagging behind in the polls and could, like Anne Hidalgo, be a victim of the useful vote in favor of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Especially since five years ago, the Communists rallied to the leader of the France Insoumise. Moreover, like the Insoumis, the supporters of Fabien Roussel will take advantage of these last days of the campaign to convince the abstainers.

The RN wants to believe that something is going on…

Door-to-door, boxing, towing… The recipe is the same for the national rally (RN) in the Gard. This campaign of the first round was marked by the visit of Marine Le Pen in Petite Camargue. The goal: to consolidate his electorate who could be tempted by Éric Zemmour. “ There was a desire from our candidate to be in rural areas, where we do not necessarily see the candidates pass “. In 2017, the RN candidate came in first place in the Gard with 29%. The department being a territory where the RN vote is rooted.

Marine Le Pen traveling to Grau-du-Roi, March 5 (Photo: Yannick Pons)
(Photo Yannick Pons / Lens Gard)

The elected opposition RN of the city of Nîmes, Yoann Gillet, wants to believe that something is happening: “ On feels a dynamic, an enthusiasm when we come into contact with people. “And to add:” We often answer the practical questions of people who want to go to vote, but who do not go because they have lost their voter card. However, to vote, the identity card is enough “. Politics is also civic education.

Working and the silent majority?

In the Gard, activists Working were slow to campaign. The reason ? The president-candidate, who waited until the last moment to get started, prevented Gard activists – like co-referents Valérie Rouvérand and Jérome Talon – from campaigning on the project. The Gard has however hosted several ministers such as Florence Parly, Minister of Defense and more recently the Minister of Labor, Élisabeth Borne, and Clément Beaume in charge of European Affairs. Problem: public meetings no longer seem to attract crowds compared to 2017.

This afternoon at the Grand Hotel de Nîmes (Photo: Coralie Mollaret)

Should we see this as a sign of disaffection from Emmanuel Macron in the Gard? If they are less in the field, ” LREM activists support us by promoting Emmanuel Macron in their networks “, tempers Jérôme Talon. Before adding: The campaign is sluggish because of the war in Ukraine and the health crisis. The Presidential 2022 is especially very media and is done on social networks. It remains to be seen whether the abstention rate which promises to be record will benefit or harm the outgoing president? The Walkers still have a few days to mobilize their troops. They will end their flash campaign with a public meeting in Alès on Thursday 7 April.

Coralie Mollaret

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