The president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region announced on Sunday that he had “decided not to be a candidate for the presidency of the Republicans” to build an “alternative” which will “go beyond questions of apparatus” and be “at the rendezvous of the great democratic choice of 2027”.
The one who led the right-wing party from 2017 to 2019 even evokes a new regime, hoping for a “change of the same nature as that of 1958” with the advent of the Fifth Republic.
LR must convene its congress in the fall to appoint the successor to Christian Jacob, who left the presidency of the party on July 1 and was temporarily replaced by number two, the deputy for Doubs Annie Genevard.
But Christian Jacob had made Laurent Wauquiez his favorite to succeed him. But the latter, who has made his region the laboratory of his national ambitions, seems to have another political agenda.
– “Disappointment” –
“No deterioration of the debt, no increase in taxation and record investments, our region is the absolute counter-model compared to the bankruptcy of the French State”, thus hammered at the end of June the elected representative of 47 years, remained a supporter of the “restoration of authority” and “identity”.
The accession to the head of LR of this representative of the “hard” wing of the party had caused internal turmoil fueled by the failure of the Europeans (8%), and led to the departure of several executives, such as Valérie Pécresse or Xavier Bertrand.
His non-candidacy, decided despite appeals from the foot of the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau and Mr. Jacob, risks disappointing the most right-wingers of LR, while the party must reunite after being shaken by the slap suffered by Valérie Pécresse in the presidential election (4.8% of the vote), half-hearted legislative elections and finances at half mast.
“He is eagerly awaited. If he took a step aside, the disappointment would be very great”, had warned in the JDD, before the announcement of his decision, Bruno Retailleau, supporter of a presidential candidacy “from of the political party”.
Another support, Eric Ciotti, “respects his choice” and now wants to work “to rebuild a great right-wing, popular and liberal party”.
Julien Aubert, who had cherished the hope of succeeding Mr. Jacob before being beaten in the legislative elections, points to the “risk”, if Mr. Wauquiez does not take over the party, “that there is no longer a presidency short”.
– “Personal adventure” –
“He decided to focus on an approach outside the political movements, in a direct meeting with the French. I had rather advised him something else, but perhaps the parties are considered a bit has-been today” , analyzes the deputy LR Pierre Cordier (Ardennes), who says he is “close” to Mr. Wauquiez.
But for the secretary general of the party Aurélien Pradié, who is thinking of taking over the party and will give his decision “during the summer”, “the decision of Laurent Wauquiez marks a height”.
“At Les Républicains, we have to rebuild everything. Speak to all French people. A new breath on the right? At work!”, He added on Twitter on Monday.
In addition to the name of Mr. Pradié, also circulate those of Rachida Dati, former minister, or David Lisnard, president of the Association of mayors of France.
Chiraquian, Sarkozyist or “Wauquiezist” line, “we will have to find someone who embodies all these sensitivities that have always existed with us”, considers Annie Genevard for her part.
Political scientist Emilien Houard-Vial considers the choice of Laurent Wauquiez “understandable” given that “there are only blows to take” and that it is “not consensual among executives”, but “risky” if he intends to “take advantage of an internal crisis around 2024/2025 to appear as a hero”.
This specialist on the right sees in it above all the “desire for a personal adventure (…) to then force the party in one way or another to support him”.