The open primary organized in November 2016 to nominate the right-wing candidate for the presidential election was only a parenthesis. By 58% against 40.4% and 1.6% of blank votes, the members of the Republicans withdrew this procedure from the statutes at a dematerialized congress organized on Saturday, September 25, 2021. The turnout was 50.3 % of 79,000 members, which is not negligible for an internal vote.
→ THE FACTS Republicans have a project before having a candidate
Instead, the candidate for the presidency of the Republic supported by LR will be appointed by the members only gathered in congress. In the perspective of the presidential election of 2022, it should be in December 2021. Members up to date of contribution will be able to vote fifteen days before the poll.
Convergence against the primary
The renunciation of a primary open to all supporters of the right is not a surprise. On the one hand, many members have never accepted a process which effectively deprives them of the choice of their candidate. This was also at the time the motivation of François Fillon and Alain Juppé to impose it on Nicolas Sarkozy: bypassing the militant hard core, reputed to be Sarkozy.
On the other hand, the determined refusal of one of the main presidential candidates, Xavier Bertrand (ex-LR), to participate in an open primary. It was therefore imperative to find a replacement solution allowing it to be integrated into the tie-breaker mechanism. It will ultimately be a simple LR congress. Like the other suitors, he must nevertheless “Formally” solicit the support of his former party and present 250 sponsorships, on the model of the 500 in the presidential election.
It remains to be seen whether, in addition to Xavier Bertrand, the five personalities who were candidates for the primary will be until the end with the procedure of the congress: Valérie Pécresse (also ex-LR), Michel Barnier, Éric Ciotti, Philippe Juvin and Denis Payre .
An anti-Zemmour clause
In addition to the method of appointing the candidate supported by LR for the presidential election, the party leadership added two last-minute clauses to the revision of the statutes. The first is the creation of a “Control body”, which will be implemented on October 6, loaded “The admissibility of the candidatures with regard in particular to their compatibility with the values of the right and the center right and the sincerity of the results”. In other words, a filter to prevent, for example, Eric Zemmour, with far-right convictions, from disrupting the choice of members. “He is not part of our political family, he does not have our political line”, insisted Christian Jacob, president of LR, announcing the results.
The second, the introduction of a procedure allowing the party to revoke its support “In the event that the political office finds that the nominated candidate cannot, for whatever reason, remain the bearer of the choice of the participants in the vote”. This vague formulation is intended as an answer to the puzzle of 2017, with the indictment of François Fillon. It remains to be seen whether this procedure would then have been used, with the organization of a new primary.