The President of the Republicans says he is convinced that the right will manage to present only one candidate.
The Republicans make their political comeback on Saturday and Sunday. What is your message eight months before the presidential election?
We are convinced that victory is possible in 2022. After having gathered our political family, set up conventions and thematic forums to work on a project of alternation, resumed with electoral victory after a series of defeats, there remained this last step, the setting up of a real young, autonomous movement. It was one of my goals when I ran for the presidency of the party. Here we are. This weekend, more than 1,600 young people from all over France will meet at the Parc Floral near Vincennes in Val-de-Marne, a symbolic department of the electoral dynamics of the Republicans in the last elections in the face of LREM’s inability to gain a foothold in local executives and face the collapse of the RN.
The Republicans’ project will be presented this weekend. How can we define it?
More than 200 meetings were organized to build a work-study project by bringing together local elected officials, parliamentarians, experts and representatives of civil society. All the proposals were voted on by the activists. We will present it on Saturday. It will be intended to be enriched by the proposals made by the young people. This program will provide a legislative framework and offer our presidential candidate a real work-study project. The coordination work of the project led by Olivier Marleix and Christine Lavarde revolves around three themes: protect, liberate, bring together. The crisis has revealed a state centralism without a strategic vision and a loss of French sovereignty in health, industrial and food matters, with a state that is too heavy where it should be flexible and too weak where it should be strong. Hence our triptych. We need a state that protects its citizens and restores the sovereignty of France. Companies must be freed from excess taxation, standards, taxes, and promote work, profit-sharing and participation. Finally, we must bring together, promote the integration of young people into the world of work by facilitating learning from the age of 14, rebuilding the school of the Republic, making learning French a great national cause. We must rebuild a real family policy, transmit our way of life and the values of the Republic.
Should a presidential candidate who wants the support of the Republicans commit to resuming this program?
Each candidate is free to present his project. But it is quite obvious that Republicans will look to whoever takes it back the most. All this work was not done on a corner of the table, it is the fruit of debates submitted to the vote of the militants.
Will the primary take place? Finally, when will we know?
It is clear that today no candidate is needed. It is normal and healthy that we have a debate on the primary. But, as I have always committed myself to it, it is the LR activists who will decide whether or not a primary process is involved. Only they have the legitimacy to settle this debate. They will do so during the congress on September 25th.
Tuesday, The Republicans will meet in strategic committee. What will happen there then?
We need to discuss the challenges of the coming weeks, the calendar and in particular the preparation for the September 25 congress.
What do you say to those who, internally, within LR, accuse you of wanting to save time and of wanting to bury the primary?
I simply respect the calendar which was voted unanimously in political office in December, then in June. I have only one goal: to win the presidential election. And I note that, when the French want to entrust the keys of a community, they turn to Les Républicains. I am therefore confident that they will also look to us in the presidential election. I continue to want to bet on collective intelligence to come up with a single candidate. This is the condition for winning. We have an obligation, that of responsibility and of a single candidacy.
The two favorites on the right, Xavier Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse, are ex-LR. How then to maintain unity among all?
The desire for victory of the right and the center obliges us to unity. We have several candidates, Michel Barnier, Éric Ciotti, Philippe Juvin, but also Valérie Pécresse, Xavier Bertrand. They know that division will lead to defeat and that they need to be able to rally to win. Everyone will have to face up to their responsibilities. In a few weeks, we will have an opinion poll, the results of which will be known around September 20th. It will be a lighting element. But let’s keep calm. No candidate has ever won during this period, except for Jacques Chirac, outgoing in 2002, and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Are you worried about a possible candidacy of Eric Zemmour, who would siphon the voices of the right?
Eric Zemmour seems to want to be a candidate. Humanly, I appreciate him, but he is not part of our political family. And, on certain subjects, he defends a political line which is not ours.
The demands for order and authority have never been so strong in society. Why would the French trust Republicans more than Emmanuel Macron?
We have the merit of consistency and experience in the management of local authorities. Ten years of opposition have allowed us to refine our proposals, our diagnosis. With Emmanuel Macron, the results are inversely proportional to the number of trips and speeches. What the French expect are results. However, the situation continues to worsen, violence and delinquency continue to increase. No reform was carried out in the three years preceding the health crisis. This cannot be used to justify this poor record.
La République en Marche is preparing a campaign to display and distribute leaflets ” Macron, it’s more for France “. What does this inspire you?
The least we can say is that it was not seen. Today, he realizes his impotence, and, to make up for this ineffectiveness, he connects speeches, trips and communication blows.