Louis Aliot and Robert Ménard, during a joint press conference on June 11 -
Alain ROBERT / SIPA
Before the suspension of the reopening of museums in Perpignan on Monday, other decisions of mayors close to the far right were challenged by the administrative court.
“It's a way of getting people talking about them,” says political scientist Michel Crespy.
They know very well that they are illegal, they know very well that it will be prohibited.
But "if the RN mayors were docile, and that they did not take actions a little outside the nails, finally, the voters would not ask why are they there", explains Virginie Martin, doctor of science policies.
Unsurprisingly, the opening of four museums in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales), decided by Louis Aliot (RN), despite the rules in force to fight against Covid-19, was rebutted on Monday by the Montpellier administrative court (Hérault).
In November, the elected official had suffered a setback from the same instance, while he had authorized the businesses to reopen.
A failure he had shared with Robert Ménard (various), a regular at the benches of the administrative tribunal, who had braved the same ban in Béziers.
Defying the law, then being called to order by justice, is this a well-oiled strategy for mayors close to the extreme right?
"It's a way of getting people to talk about them," analyzes the Montpellier political scientist Michel Crespy.
These elected officials obviously know very well that they are illegal, they know very well that this will be prohibited by the administrative tribunal.
But they do it anyway.
It is a political coup.
"Very clever provocations"
This ensures them "a media presence", continues Virginie Martin, doctor in political science and researcher at the Kedge Business School.
“You realize, open a museum while the Louvre is closed!
Anyway, today, in politics, how to talk about yourself without making a communication coup?
It's a big problem.
They are forced to put their feet in the dish to be heard.
For Emmanuel Négrier, director of political science research at the CNRS in Montpellier, "the actions claimed by these elected officials are very clever provocations".
"Neither too frontal to frighten, nor very consensual, however, in order to awaken attention," says the political scientist.
It may be against the law, but the bottom line is that it fuels a rhetoric of "There is nothing to whip a cat, after all, it is not mean" etc., which disarms by part democratic criticism.
They "try to say something to their electorate"
But if, for the Christmas crib installed in town hall by Robert Ménard and several times deemed illegal, the elected official "flatters the" cathocrats "who are already largely in his electorate, with museums, Louis Aliot reaches two customers who are sorely lacking: the educated middle class, which dominates the sociology of museums and applauds daring, and the artistic and cultural circles which, apart from a few losers, were frankly hostile to the RN and who lose, by this coup , an argument ”, continues the specialist.
Through these decisions, these elected officials try "to say something to their electorate", confirms Virginie Martin.
“If the RN mayors were docile, and they didn't take actions a little off the nail, in the end, voters wouldn't ask why they are here.
They thus set the tone for their program: Christian roots, the management of Covid-19… These are strong communication signals.
And this is not new, continues the political scientist.
“In Vitrolles (Bouches-du-Rhône), the Mégret couple had set up a national preference, which was, of course, totally illegal.
"And this method is not, says Virginie Martin, a peculiarity of mayors close to the extreme right:" A certain number of people, especially on the extreme left, say today that we must disobey.
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