Marseille (AFP)

A quarter of a century with Jean-Claude Gaudin, now what? After a completely crazy week in Marseille, the Republicans, beaten in the ballot box, count on the "3rd round" at the municipal council on Saturday to prevent the left and Michèle Rubirola from robbing them of the town hall.

Despite her 38.3% of the vote in the second round on Sunday, far ahead of the LR lists (30.8%), this 63-year-old elected official, doctor in popular neighborhoods and environmentalist from the start, is still not guaranteed d be the first woman to head the second city in France.

PLM law (Paris-Lyon-Marseille) requires, the election is done by sectors. And no absolute majority came out of the ballot box: 42 elected to the municipal council for the Marseilles Spring, a broad alliance of the left and environmentalists, 39 for the Republicans. Far, therefore, from the 51 votes needed, out of 101, to conquer the town hall and its breathtaking view of the Old Port and the "Bonne Mère".

All eyes therefore turn to the nine elected members of the National Rally, around their leader Stéphane Ravier, the nine gathered around the senator from the northern districts Samia Ghali, "woman on the left" breaking with the PS, and the two voice of dissident LR Bruno Gilles.

If the Marseilles Spring has already denounced a potential "democratic hold-up", the result of backstage negotiations, the figures are there: to impose themselves during the first two rounds of voting, where an absolute majority is required, alliances are essential .

And Samia Ghali has shown that it should be reckoned with. Join the Printemps Marseille, why not, provided you become the first assistant, she demanded Friday, before announcing the rallying of Lisette Narducci, former socialist who joined Gaudin during the 2014 municipal elections and elected this year under the banner of Bruno Gilles.

A request immediately rejected by Michèle Rubirola, who does not want to be "hostage to no blackmail".

But it is Mrs. Ghali who will completely reshuffle the cards, in the heart of the night, barely a few hours before the opening of this decisive municipal council: faced with the "incomprehensible refusal" of Spring to accept its outstretched hand, she announced on Twitter to resume her total freedom to vote, with her running mates, to "make the best choice" in favor of working-class neighborhoods.

- Dean's bonus -

For Republicans, this umpteenth twist can only be great news. Because they too are far from the absolute majority. They certainly counted on the three elected from the lists of Bruno Gilles, but there are already only two, with the "poaching" of Mrs. Narducci. 39 + 2 = 41. To get ahead of the Printemps Marseillais, they will have to get votes from Mme Ghali, or the National Rally.

But with which candidate? Aligned for 25 years behind Jean-Claude Gaudin, the Marseille right, already sealed by the opening of an investigation into possible proxy fraud in his camp, exploded Thursday.

Beaten in the 6th and 8th arrondissements, deemed captive for the right, Martine Vassal, runner-up designated by Jean-Claude Gaudin, abdicated. No more "duel de dames" against Michèle Rubirola. Make way for Guy Teissier, 75, an old truck driver who passed through his youth on the far right.

Additional advantage for the deputy LR: premium to the dean obliges, it is he who would win in the third round, disputed by relative majority, if two candidates were tied ...

But the tactical coup of the LR president of the metropolis and the department fizzled. Substitute for Guy Teissier at the National Assembly and mayor of the 9th and 10th arrondissements, Lionel Royer-Perreaut, 47, also announced his candidacy for the central town hall, refusing to "join an alliance strategy" with the National rally - a possibility yet officially ruled out by LR leaders.

Two LR candidates therefore announced on the starting line. A candidate for the left, Michèle Rubirola. One for the RN: Stéphane Ravier, the senator beaten last Sunday in the sector he had won in 2014, and who called for "a Marseilles pact" against "the far left".

And a free electron, Samia Ghali, who perhaps alone holds the keys to the town hall.

As the vote takes place by secret ballot, will a surprise result leave the ballot box on Saturday? Beginning of the end of the suspense at 9:30 am, under the gaze of the Marseillais: several citizen collectives, associations and elected officials of the "Printemps" called on the citizens to come and demonstrate in front of the town hall, so as not to be "robbed" of their vote ", in a city where abstention was close to 65%.

© 2020 AFP