Louis Aliot could not be clearer: the Pyrénées-Orientales (PO) must be “the spearhead of the national reconquest of 2022 ”. These lands have already offered him a deputy chair, in 2017, then the town hall of Perpignan, in 2020. Present in all 17 cantons of the department, the RN now targets the General Council. In the 2015 ballot, no frontist elected was elected, although Marine Le Pen’s party was full of votes with more than 31% of the vote in the first round and 34.5% in the second. The left won 21 seats out of 34 and elected Hermeline Malherbe (PS) president of the department.
Will the victory won by Louis Aliot in Perpignan serve as a springboard for the RN for these departmental? This is the question that all observers are asking themselves today. “We are in the same configuration as for the Hérault in 2015. The RN [dénommé alors le FN, ndlr] had been a hit with the three cantons of Béziers whose mayor, Robert Ménard, had been elected with the support of the extreme right. As for Ménard, the legitimacy acquired by Aliot can boost the RN vote ”, analysis Emmanuel Négrier, CNRS research director in political science and member of Cepel (Center for Political and Social Studies) at the University of Montpellier. “However, he continues, such a scenario is not enough to win the department, especially as the RN is less well placed in the rural cantons. ” And for the coastal cantons and those of the Perpignan conurbation? “There, the RN vote has been rising for 30 years and the conquest is possible”, answers the political scientist.
“The republican front no longer works”
These local victories can only be facilitated by the bridges linking over time the right and the extreme right. Federal Secretary of the PS, Frédéric Monteil recounts his discovery of local political mores when he was recruited by the Departmental Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales, where he holds the post of chief of staff: “Here, the elected officials on the right give dear Louis to Aliot and everyone slaps each other on the shoulder. This atmosphere contributes to the normalization of the RN, and the transfer of the electorate from the classic right to the extreme right has undoubtedly been amplified since the election of Aliot, who has become a real notable on the right. “ This “Flagrant porosity” does not fail to appear in these departmental, as evidenced by the presence of Gilles Foxonet, mayor of Baixas and ex-LR, on an RN list. “In his canton, the right has not put any candidate against him”, notes Frédéric Monteil.
The recent indictment for “organized gang extortion” of Alain Ferrand, mayor of Bacarès and candidate on an LR list, has hardly helped the affairs of the right. As for the presidential party, it does not present any list. Former president of the Perpignan commercial court, Alain Cavalière featured prominently in the last municipal elections on an LREM list. But between the two rounds, he joined that of Louis Aliot and is today stamped RN… “People no longer understand the political arrangements in our department. What is certain is that here, the Republican front no longer works ”, affirms Jordi Vera, coordinator of “Yes to the Catalan Country”, a regionalist movement which, with “Agissons Pays Catalan”, is present in all the cantons. And to add: “At the town hall, the executives of the former right-wing mayor have been confirmed in their posts and are today with Aliot who has been able to dress as a moderate notable. Moreover, it is his face that we see on the RN leaflets of all the cantons … He can hope to gain half a dozen advisers. “
Hardly more optimistic, Francis Daspe, candidate for rebellious France, expects a victory for the RN over four cantons: “Faced with a worn right and a disarticulated left which offers an insufficient balance sheet at the head of the department, Aliot has exploded the glass ceiling”, he laments. As in an echo, a representative of the gypsy community of Perpignan continues: “We were only approached by the RN. I do not know what it will give in the ballot box, but we must admit that the other candidates were non-existent in our neighborhoods. “ It seems that in the POs, many already expect to be knocked out at the end of the ballot.