Paris (AFP)

Former LR deputy Jean-Paul Garraud, who became an RN MEP in 2019, will lead the National Rally list in regional elections in Occitanie, in the hope of attracting votes to the right, the party announced on Tuesday.

The former LR deputy of Gironde (2002-2012), who now resides in this region, received the support of the influential RN mayor of Perpignan Louis Aliot, whose "opinion counts" according to a senior executive.

He will face the outgoing socialist president Carole Delga.

Former magistrate, Jean-Paul Garraud is the main author of the RN's counter-proposal on separatism.

He was also rapporteur for the law of 2010 which prohibits the concealment of the face in public space, as with the full veil.

This candidacy allows in particular to rally the mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard, fervent supporter of "the union of the rights", who had thought of running with the LR mayor of Montauban Brigitte Barèges, recently sentenced to five years of ineligibility.

RN spokesperson Julien Sanchez, mayor for 7 years of Beaucaire (Gard) and president of the RN group in the region, was also a candidate to lead the RN list, asserting his "local presence" and his "legitimacy as principal opposing "to Carole Delga.

Several elected representatives of the regional council had sent a letter to the party's authorities to defend his candidacy.

On February 10, the RN had already announced the investiture in the Grand Est of the former activist of Debout la France, Laurent Jacobelli, who became the party's spokesperson.

Former Sarkozy Minister Thierry Mariani, elected RN MEP, is approached in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, RN stronghold, where he will face his former friend of LR, outgoing president Renaud Muselier.

The number two of the party, Jordan Bardella, could invest himself in Ile-de-France, land of conquest, where he did not intend to appear before changing his mind.

© 2021 AFP