There were no ministers in danger of stumbling in the constituency, nor prominent Melenchonist figures. The results were however awaited there with a certain curiosity. In the “18th” of Paris, covering part of the 18th and 9th arrondissement around the Butte Montmartre, a symbolic duel was held in more ways than one. First by its casting. Under the impetus of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Nupes had chosen Aymeric Caron, ex-columnist at Ruquier, best known for his positions in favor of the animal cause. In front of him ? Pierre-Yves Bournazel, the outgoing deputy, very close to Edouard Philippe, tipped to head the future Horizons group in the National Assembly. Then, by the situation, reflecting a number of national issues: would the former TV star parachuted from very, very high up manage to convince in a neighborhood that he admitted to having rarely visited, by simply surfing on the Mélenchon momentum in the presidential election? Conversely, his opponent, who went from the Republicans to Emmanuel Macron, was he not going to be penalized by his anchoring on the right in a historically left-wing constituency?

The result reflects these hesitations and a political landscape that no longer knows where to turn. Admittedly, with 45.05% of the vote, Aymeric Caron was 10 points ahead of his opponent, but he gathered less than the three left-wing candidates had done in 2017, who had gathered more than 50% of the vote. Conversely, Pierre-Yves Bournazel is left behind, but with 35.6% of the vote, he improves his score in the first round of five years ago.

Until the eve of the election, suspense hovered around this constituency. Was she going to return to the left as she has long been? Or continue its anchoring in the presidential majority started in 2017? Difficult to measure in advance the repelling effect of the candidate chosen by Nupes, Aymeric Caron, in a district which has long wanted to be socialist more than “left of the left”. The sociology of the constituency straddling the 9th and 18th arrondissements did not facilitate forecasts. Between the posh streets of the Butte Montmartre, the popular islets of the Porte de Clignancourt, Château-Rouge and Barbès and the fast-track neighborhoods of boboisization, which we do not really know if they are green, rebellious urban version or Macroniens cuvée 2022, few common points and as many electorates to convince.

The precedent of 2017 did not make it possible to draw lessons for this election either. Five years ago, in fact, the two main candidates claimed to be from En Marche and from the presidential majority – Pierre-Yves Bournazel still had his LR label, but had approached an Edouard Philippe Prime Minister when Myriam El Khomri, ex-minister of François Hollande, pushed the flirtation with the walkers – and the left was deeply divided since the ex-minister of Labor was also in competition with an Insoumis and Caroline De Haas. This time, the divisions were more clearly defined, not to say gaping. In this constituency, the match was played by two. Neither Reconquest nor the National Rally weighed and the candidacies “ecology at the center” or “the concrete candidate” were of the order of testimony.

During the campaign, Aymeric Caron totally played the double card of “seen on TV” and perfect little Nupes soldier, even if he is not part of the Insoumis, but represents the party he created in 2018 , the Ecological Revolution. His radicalism on animal issues, his militant veganism therefore did not prevent him from convincing a district where dyed-in-the-wool socialists like Lionel Jospin, Daniel Vaillant or Christophe Caresche have long dominated. He highlighted Jean-Luc Mélenchon on his campaign material and was able to fit into the economic and social line of the rebellious program. As a result, he took advantage of the latter’s good score in the district in the first round of the presidential election. He came out on top with 36% of the vote against 33.4% for Emmanuel Macron. He also did not hesitate to mock his opponent and his “proximity campaign”, describing this practice as “dad politics”.

For his part, Pierre-Yves Bournazel struggled to capitalize on Emmanuel Macron’s presidential victory. It must be said that the context was very different from that of 2017 and that he undoubtedly appeared more strongly than at the time as a right-wing candidate. However, he spared no effort. By fully playing the proximity card, posting on social networks and in the street with emblematic figures of the diversity of the district. By also playing “I’m greener than you” with his opponent, not hesitating to brandish a ranking of the deputies who voted the most in favor of ecology where he ranked 6th out of 577 and to take cause for the ponies of the Parisian parks, abused by the managers. By brandishing, finally, his social fiber about intermittent entertainment or education.

But wanting to embrace too much, Pierre-Yves Bournazel ended up becoming unclassifiable for his voters. In 2020, this ex-spokesperson for Alain Juppé in 2016 had embarked on the municipal elections in Paris as an independent centrist before joining Benjamin Griveaux. But he had been overtaken by the outgoing socialist mayor and by the LR candidate, gathering only 16.68% under the presidential majority label. In the legislative campaign, he benefited from a benevolent look from Bertrand Delanoë. His socialist predecessor, Christophe Caresche, also supported him a few days before the election. But he also received the support of Edouard Philippe, who came to campaign with him at the beginning of June. Something to make you dizzy.

For the second round, the duel is likely to be without surprise. Aymeric Caron certainly does not have a reserve of votes and will have to convince the abstainers to mobilize if he wants to win. For his part, Pierre-Yves Bournazel will try to seduce the voters who have favored the LR candidate supported by Rachida Dati. But with less than 4%, this will not be enough to make a difference. It is very likely that Aymeric Caron will soon sit in the Assembly.