Paris (AFP)

Christian Jacob was elected president of the Republicans on Sunday, becoming the head of a party in deep crisis after five years of disintegration.

The leader of the deputies LR, who was the favorite, won in the first round with 62.58% of the vote against 21.28% Vaucluse sovereignty MP Julien Aubert and 16.14% at most liberal Guillaume Larrivé, deputy of Yonne.

The participation was stronger than expected since 62,401 members of their contribution day voted, ie 47% of participation.

By way of comparison, in 2017, participation had reached 42.46% when Laurent Wauquiez was elected with nearly 75% of the votes. LR had 235,000 members, 100,000 more than today.

This mobilization should establish the legitimacy of Mr. Jacob, even if it is already established that he will not run for president in 2022.

"The Republicans will only become a popular and open right-wing party if they renew the promise of the rally," said Jacob. Opposed to the system of primaries, he has, since the seat of the party in Paris, called his political family to put "aside" the quarrels of ego.

Congratulating his competitors, Mr. Jacob assured that they would "obviously have their place on the management team" to come.

"I will continue, within the Republicans and Dare France, to defend our values ​​for a Patriotic, Republican and Social Right." The adventure continues! Mr. Aubert reacted on Twitter, while Mr. Larrivé promised to continue "to chart a course, as a free man to defend (his) convictions".

The victory of Mr. Jacob has been hailed among the Republican ranks who have not hidden the magnitude of the task: "victory of the gathering in the clarity and fidelity to our values" said the deputy Eric Ciotti, while Bruno Retailleau threw out: "And now, at work!"

"The task is immense, we will be at his side to initiate the recovery of our movement," assured the Senate Speaker Gerard Larcher.

- "Macronism alternation project" -

Mr. Jacob, 59, three times minister, and who claims his farmer past a "good sense of the peasant", will indeed rebuild a party, heir to the UMP, but has accumulated setbacks: defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential election of 2012, historical eviction of the second round to that of 2017, until the slap of 8.5% in the European May, which caused the resignation of Laurent Wauquiez and precipitated this internal election.

The new president will have to find a way in a reduced political space: on the one hand, the Republic on the move, which tackles the regal themes of the right, and on the other, the extreme right, where advocates rapprochement.

Mr. Jacob promised a "project of alternation to macronism" around "some strong values", such as "restore the authority of the state", "fight against a form of disintegration of national cohesion and the poison of the communitarianism and uncontrolled immigration ", and" fight against the impoverishment of the middle classes and pensioners ".

For the party, the first meeting will be the municipal elections in March, "a moment of truth between lepenism and macronism on one side, and we on the other," added Mr. Jacob, promising that it would be "in clarity and without compromise, being proud of our values".

For LR, it is also necessary, at the approach of municipal, stop the bleeding that saw Valerie Pécresse and Xavier Bertrand leave.

"Christian Jacob is the one who can, by his personality, by a certain wisdom but also a certain height of view, to convince Valérie Pécresse, Xavier Bertrand, people who have a lot of value, to return to work with us to rebuild the party", estimated before the closing of the election the mayor of Saint-Etienne Gaël Perdriau.

It's urgent. On Sunday, former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he was "obviously" leaving LR. And Friday, it was the Senator Herault Jean-Pierre Grand who had slammed the door of the party.

© 2019 AFP