While the President of the Republicans, Christian Jacob, has promised to settle “in the fall” the question of the mode of nomination of the presidential candidate, Aurélien Pradié calls his friends to be “cool”.
Are you in favor of a primary to designate the right-wing presidential candidate?
We must turn the page of the primary. It is an obsolete tool to get rid of, a losing and shrinking machine on the right. It manufactures small individual ambitions, when we need big collective ambition. It is also a profound anomaly in relation to our idea of the Fifth Republic, Gaullism and the right. The right wing for which I am involved in politics has the ambition to bring together all the French, to bring hope, not to be limited to a clan.
But how do you decide between the different candidates, then?
There was a life before primary! There were great victories for the right before the primary! It has never stopped us from conquering the hearts of the French. It was even more with the primary that the trouble started! Those who are obsessed with the presidency think the primary will be their chance. But it carries with it the poison of excitement, nervousness, division and political stunting.
Do you think the primary has some responsibility for the 2017 failure?
I am convinced of that, although that is not the only explanation. It’s true, we were happy back then to see that we were all about us. But while we were comparing the size of our navels, we weren’t talking about the French. My generation has a duty to step up and find the courage to turn the pages of chess.
For Bruno Retailleau and Valérie Pécresse, in the absence of a natural candidate, not going to a primary means risking elimination in the first round …
There has never been a natural candidate, it is a species that does not exist in politics. There are only candidates who win, because they have shown that they are capable of bringing the French together. And I believe in everyone’s responsibility. Whoever is not in a position to win must withdraw, to give his strength to the one who is in the best position.
Is there an urgent need to settle this debate?
I invite everyone to put a little water on the back of their necks, as my grandmother used to say, to bring the temperature down. Everyone must regain their cool. The urgency is to work with us, around Christian Jacob, on substantive subjects, on a work-study project. The French don’t give a damn about the primary. What interests them is what alternative we offer them, what more just and courageous vision we have of the future of France. This debate will be open by the end of the year, but I would remind you that those who will decide it are the members of the movement, not one or the other gathered in a room. They alone can modify our statutes.
Would you like François Baroin to be a presidential candidate?
I have never hidden the great esteem I have for him. He’ll be mad at me for publicly cheering him on, but I want him to be a candidate, even if it’s up to him to make his decision. I find it rather healthy the temperance he shows before announcing his decision, whatever it is. He does not seem to me to be affected by this overwhelming pathology which is that of the presidential obsession. This is proof of good mental health. If he is a candidate, he will not be out of narcissism, but out of a sense of duty and love for his country.
Does Rachida Dati have “a role to play” for 2022, as she herself says?
Of course. When the time comes, everyone will have a role to play. For me, Rachida Dati embodies the taste for combat and a popular right, capable of speaking to the worker as to the farmer, to the one who has succeeded financially as to the one who is in precariousness, to the kid from the suburbs as to the one of the Lot. And that strong temper, it looks a lot like the straight line that I like.