You are secretary general of the Republicans. Are you in favor of a primary on the right?
I think the primary degrades presidential ambition. We wake up every morning with new suitors. Some say to themselves that, out of a misunderstanding, thanks to the primary, they could perhaps emerge. Except that the presidential election is a little more than a misunderstanding … The primary manufactures small individual ambitions, while we need great collective ambition. It may allow us to pass the first round, but condemns us for the second. Because it carries a deep anomaly: to make a chieftain when it is necessary to carry the president of all French people. The right candidate will win a few months before the deadline.
One of the Republicans’ objectives this fall is to talk to the youth. Is it still possible? We didn’t see much of the young people at the meetings of the right …
For several years, let’s face it frankly, the right no longer speaks to young people. Several months ago, around Christian Jacob, we decided to dedicate our return to youth. Next weekend, 1000 young people will be gathered to debate and reflect. Today, no other political formation is capable of bringing together a thousand young people this fall. We worked hard on it to meet the challenge. The young people will be there to “jostle” us on different themes: ecology and growth, national sovereignty and Europe, the Republic and the social lift, authority and democracy. In Port-Marly, it is the young people who will have the floor. In the face of the youth, there is no longer room for small and paltry ego battles. There is only room for the debate of ideas. This is what young people expect, and it is also what the French expect from us.
But are you talking to youth, or to militant youth, inset?
We must and want to talk to all young people. This is the first step in a long-term strategy, to win back young people, from all regions, from all backgrounds. We will rebuild a young, autonomous and strong movement in the coming months.
In recent years, Republicans have targeted seniors. Why this change in strategy?
If we succeed in speaking to the youth of our country, then we will find the hearts of the French. To be successful, we must carry a hope, a taste for just causes, a will. The right cannot be a punishment. Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy had known how to raise enthusiasm, an ideal of society. They won the presidential election. Without young people and without this hope, no one wins a presidential election.
In 2017, a large part of young people voted for Emmanuel Macron rather than for the Republicans …
Macronism is a cemetery of ideals and convictions, populated by a few opportunists. They have no sincere desire to change things, to fight against the injustices and mistakes of our time. They pretend. Republicans must embody another path. Youth aspires to ideals, convictions, a desire for new conquests. This is the whole history of the French right which must reconnect with this conquering spirit.
How will you manage to attract young people who are not included and get them to come to a public meeting?
Already, by renewing the form, you will see it at Port-Marly. The meetings where speeches are linked to flatter each other, it’s over. At a time of growing individualism, participation in democratic debate needs to be rethought. We need to renew ourselves, to invent new answers. We do it with humility, but with absolute determination to rebuild the house.