Since Saturday 6:00 p.m., the 91,110 members can decide electronically between these three shades of the right to find out who will become the new boss of the party, after the resignation of Christian Jacob in June (the interim has since been occupied by Annie Genevard).
At 10 a.m. on Sunday, the turnout was already 45%, but it was impossible to draw any conclusion on the outcome of a very uncertain ballot.
It will be necessary to wait a few minutes after 6:00 p.m. to have the verdict of this first round which will draw up the balance of power, unless one of the three candidates now gathers more than 50% of the votes.
Each of the contenders takes advantage of a buoyant dynamic… but each camp also privately confesses to swimming “in total fog”, according to a relative of a candidate, in the absence of a survey and visibility on the contours of an electorate that swelled as the election approached.
On paper, Eric Ciotti, deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, appears to be the favorite, at the head of the largest federation in the country with almost 9,000 members.
His very firm language on the sovereign in general and immigration in particular appeals in the South-East and beyond as illustrated by his performance in the primary of 2021: he had then climbed to the second round, bringing together nearly 40% of the vote against Valérie Pécresse.
This very right-wing line could, at the start of the campaign, have fueled rumors of departures within the party if he were elected. A fantasy also maintained by the Macronist majority, which has been pursuing its right-wing seduction business for five years.
But the quaestor of the National Assembly can count on the support of the very popular Laurent Wauquiez, whom he claims to want to wear as a right-wing candidate for 2027.
And he says he is “serene” in the face of the investigation opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) into the jobs of his ex-wife.
– LR, a tight right? –
Bruno Retailleau, patron of LR senators, represents the conservative and liberal wing of LR in this election.
The Vendéen can boast of a long list of supporters, which for a time earned him the label of moderate, despite his positions.
The elected official from the Movement for France of Philippe de Villiers hammered his intransigence on the sovereign during the campaign, and mocked in veiled words an agreement of his competitors after their joint meeting on Tuesday: “If we coalesce against me, it’s good that I represent a danger”.
Challenger, Lot deputy Aurélien Pradié can certainly “make a score”, believes a party executive, but “second place still seems distant”.
With his line of “popular right” to social concerns, illustrated by a text on the creation of courts specializing in domestic violence which he had adopted Thursday in the National Assembly, he also displays very firm accents on the sovereign.
Because the candidates have not ceased to harden their tone, anxious to mark their difference with the macronie, even if the LR deputies punctually bring to the majority the votes necessary to have texts voted on.
At the same time, some elected officials are pushing to go further in the alliance with Emmanuel Macron, such as the mayor of La Baule Franck Louvrier, who in the Journal du Dimanche calls for “concluding a government contract”, under penalty of seeing any reform “stopped in the country”.
And this close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy also worries about a possible rapprochement with the far right, which makes eyes at the LR electorate.
“Today, I have doubts about the tightness of our party. I did not hear the three candidates, in this internal campaign, reject urbi et orbi the union of the rights for the years to come”, laments he.