A town hall, in this case in Dreux (illustration image). - CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP
- The candidates have until Thursday to submit the lists to the prefecture for the first round of the municipal elections, Sunday, March 15, 2020.
- For the main parties, the local level is crucial, one year from the regional elections and two from the presidential election.
- 20 Minutes returns to the stakes of the poll, party by party.
The campaign for the municipal enters its final stretch from this Thursday, deadline to deposit the lists in prefecture. Voters are called upon to elect their mayor in approximately 35,000 municipalities. For the parties, the local level is crucial, 12 months from the regional elections and two years from the 2022 presidential election. But the stakes are very different depending on the parties, which do not all have the same weight at the local level .
The Republicans: Save their loot to (finally) "bounce back"
- The strong point: a solid local anchoring
- The risk: some LR elected officials were seduced by the macronist sirens. Cities conquered on the left in 2014 may not stay on the right
The “blue wave” of 2014 seems far away. Since then, LR has experienced "three successive defeats" in the presidential, legislative and European elections. For the right, this election is therefore a chance to “bounce back”, according to President LR Christian Jacob, interviewed by RTL. At HQ, we are pretty confident. "It would already be a great performance to keep our cities, because we are very high," observes Guillaume Peltier, vice-president of the movement. The party owns 15 of the 40 or so cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants and claims 550,000 local elected representatives.
Threatened by the flight of its electorate - to its right towards the RN and to its left towards LREM - the party wants to prove that it can resist. "We have two tight fronts, on our right and on our left," says Guillaume Peltier. "Whether there are here or there a few marginalized people, caught up in the RN or LREM, it remains extremely marginal".
LR also hopes to take advantage of the defeat of the presidential party to better distinguish itself, playing the card of a formation closest to the territories. “The LREM campaign shows that macronism without Emmanuel Macron does not exist. They will take a suitcase, “predicts a Republican executive. "The ballot will echo what Macronie really is: a technocracy without territorial anchorage, that is to say without link with the citizens".
The Republic on the move: anchoring locally and widening the majority
- The strong point : Emmanuel Macron
- The risk : a sanction vote, the bonus for outgoing mayors, internal divisions, etc.
It is the first municipal ballot for the presidential party, which currently claims 2,000 local elected representatives. "At the national level, we go so far that we have nothing to lose," said a parliamentarian and party official. "This is why we have set a target for the number of elected officials, at least 10,000, and not in the number of municipalities." But if we don't win any big city, it will be embarrassing ”, continues this official. “You do not become a local player if you are not established. And the clearance rate was very low in 2014 ”, points however Pierre Person, number two of the party.
The task looks difficult, especially in Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux, where electoral sociology initially seemed favorable to LREM. The stake is nevertheless decisive. “Our objective is to widen the presidential majority. We have recomposed on the right at the national level, it must be done at the local level, ”explains a party official. “Today, Emmanuel Macron does not have many mayors who support him to defend his policy locally. We will be judged on our results in the ten largest cities in France ”, continues this source.
Between the dissidents displayed in dozens of cities, the friction with the ally MoDem, the match of ministers in Biarritz having required the whistle of Emmanuel Macron or the withdrawal of Benjamin Griveaux in the capital, the image of the presidential party took a few hits. Walkers could finally hang on to a few symbols, such as the victories of the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, candidate for Le Havre or of the Minister for the Budget, Gérald Darmanin, head of the list at Tourcoing.
The Socialist Party: resuscitate nationally by saving its town halls
- The strong point : strong bastions
- The risk : not to resuscitate
The PS has chained the electoral slaps (presidential, legislative, European) but retains a good local roots, with nearly 30,000 elected officials across France. The party with the rose wants to consolidate this network, by preserving its 12 cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants and by imposing itself in cities on the right, like Nancy, Bourges or Limoges.
"We think we can keep our big cities because our mayors are very well established locally," said Pierre Jouvet, party spokesperson. "If Marseille switches [where the left presents a common list going from France rebellious to the PS but without EELV] or if we return to Limoges, we can say on March 22 in the evening, that we had buried the left but that it is back, "he hopes.
Socialists do not hesitate to nationalize this ballot to garner the votes of those disappointed with macronism. "The executive is completely closed to the demands brought by hundreds of thousands of people on the street, with the yellow vests or the mobilization against the pension reform, and our candidates say on the ground that the government will not be able to dodge this stake, and will be punished in the ballot box, ”says Pierre Jouvet.
Another challenge for the PS: work to rally the left for the presidential election. The strategy works in some cities, like in Clermont-Ferrand where the outgoing PS presents a union list, but not in others, where the socialists, communists, ecologists and rebellious go in dispersed order.
EELV: Conquering (alone) large cities
- The strong point : ecology has the wind in its sails
- Risk : gaining credibility
Encouraged by good polls, green people feel they are growing. "We have become the third political force in the Europeans [with 13.48% of the votes at the national level], and it seems that it can be confirmed and solidified on the territory at the municipal level. Our objective is to strengthen our positions in certain majorities and to conquer new town halls ”, indicates Julien Bayou, the national secretary of the party.
Europe Écologie-Les Verts currently owns only one city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, Grenoble, but aims to conquer others through autonomous lists or alliances with the left. Green people hope to win in Lyon, Strasbourg, Rouen, Bordeaux or Besançon, and will probably be courted in the second round in Paris or Nancy. "We want to show that we can activate many levers at the local level, on climate change, mobility, organic canteens, thermal insulation, democracy ...", continues Julien Bayou.
According to a Harris Interactive Epoka poll of February 6, 45% of voters in cities with more than 10,000 residents say they could vote for an EELV list. But to prevail, environmentalists will also have to convince on other subjects, such as security, and show that they are ready to rule big cities.
The National Gathering: continue the demonization
- The strong point : outgoing mayors in good standing to be re-elected
- The risk : colliding with the traditional glass ceiling
The leaders of the National Rally have been saying this for several months: the objective is first of all to keep the cities won in 2014. During the previous municipal elections, the FN (now RN) had won around ten municipalities, including Hénin-Beaumont (Pas -de-Calais), Fréjus (Var), Hayange (Moselle) or Beaucaire (Gard). "Our cities are showcases and their good management obviously participated in the demonization of the party", summarizes Gilles Pennelle, RN campaign director for the election.
Marine Le Pen wants to build on this assessment and on an openness strategy to conquer new town halls in the North, Occitania or the Paca region, without however providing figures. “Obviously, we will gain others. How many, I can not tell you, election campaigns sometimes hold surprises, ”estimated the patroness of the RN last Friday. The movement also wants to continue its local establishment. "It is the strategy of the flood, to get the most elected to win the cantons, then the department, and the region, in the run-up to the presidential election in 2022," says MEP Jean-Lin Lacapelle.
France rebellious: limit the breakage
- Their strong point : no pressure, because no quantified objectives
- The risk : continuing the fall made in Europe
Jean-Luc Mélenchon's party somewhat abandons the municipal authorities, preferring to "encourage" the formation of citizen lists. The management was content to appoint leaders responsible for creating local citizens' collectives. In addition to some headers of the LFI-labeled list, notably in Bagnolet, Saint-Denis or Châteauroux, the rebels are often allied with other leftist groups. The criteria: to be explicitly opposed to the government, and to respect a few "red lines" - no armed municipal police, for example - set by the militants.
"The municipal elections are a step in the citizen revolution," says Paul Vannier, campaign coordinator. "The commune must become again the place of the exercise of popular sovereignty". For Adrien Quatennens, number two in the movement, it is also an opportunity to "raise awareness" among the inhabitants.
The gaze of activists of La France insoumise is however turned to 2022. “The local question is not an end in itself. We continue to think that the decisive moment is the presidential election, because this is where the conquest of power is played out, ”says Paul Vannier.
- France rebellious
- The Republicans
- Political party