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French right looks for a new leader to get out of the crisis

Republicans, divided before the president's policies, prepare to elect the hard Wauquiez

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French right looks for a new leader to get out of the crisis

The French right, in process of decomposition since victory of Emmanuel Macron in last presidential elections, seeks a leader that resurrect. Laurent Wauquiez, a right-wing decomplexed so flattered by his faithful as detested even by some fellow, is favorite in election called on 10 and 17 December to elect new president of Republicans, great party Conservative in France. The problem, in addition to flight of leaders and internal divisions, is to find a space between macronism, ranging from social democracy to moderate right, and extreme right of National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen. The heir party of De Gaulle, Chirac and Sarkozy rehearses its umpteenth reinvention.

The recomposition of French political landscape, which began a year ago with fulminant ascent of a young and inexperienced banker to top of French politics, is not over. Macron, of 39 years, won presidential in May with a message neir of rights nor of Lefts, and one month later it reaffirmed its hegemony with a categorical majority for its party, Republic in March (LREM), in legislative.

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Along way, he sank Socialist Party (PS), today plunged into a deep ideological, leadership and economic crisis that has forced him to put for sale its historic site of Solférino Street. And it has precipitated anor crisis, perhaps not so bloody, but no less significant, in Republicans, party that, toger with socialist, has controlled power in France since 1970s.

The PS has 31 deputies of 577 in National Assembly, and Republicans, one hundred. LREM of Macron has 313. It is not parliamentary force exigua only obstacle for old parties to influence as y did for four decades. Is that, in addition, y lack visible leaders. The Republicans want to solve it soon with election of Wauquiez, of 42 years, current president of region Auvergne-Rhône-Alps, a hard that speaks without complexes of "roots" and "Christian Identity" of France, a country which, warns, "is not a territory "Open to all financial and migratory winds."

He won't have it easy. He will lead a party that has only managed to govern when he has acted as a true popular Party to European, in sense of German Volkspartei, that is, a interclasista movement capable of agglutinating multiple ideological currents, from center to Hard right. The general of Gaulle is best example: its movement integrated in its origin with gaullists of lefts and of rights. But y are also his successor, RPR of Neogaullista Chirac, who achieved his great victories when he managed to be a transversal movement. Or UMP of Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppe, penultimate incarnation of right before Republicans.

Deputy Franck Riester, member until a few days ago of this match, dissects before a group of correspondents in a café near National Assembly, origins of debacle. "On right we haven't looked at reality face to face for years, that we don't extract consequences from our failures." We lost in [ Presidentials of] 2007, in 2012 ..., he says. "The historical line of Republican right, defined in particular in 2002 with creation of UMP, which attached to right and center-right, was drifting towards extreme right".

The ory — endorsed among ors by Wauquiez, according to Riester — was that, if right approached line identity and eurosceptic of FN of Le Pen, it would be able to recover former right-wing voters who passed to far right. The downside is that meanwhile center was distended, where elections are supposed to be won. To this was added disastrous presidential campaign in 2017 by François Fillon, a candidate surrounded by scandals and so right wing that he left a free way to Macron to occupy moderate space. Fillon did not pass to second round; Le Pen Yes, to lose to Macron. Between two laps, recalls Riester, re was no clear call from Republicans to vote for Macron.

"This right-wing drift to a identity, authoritarian, Eurosceptic and ultraconservative line, in addition to our inability to renew ourselves in practices and issues, has led us here," summarizes Riester.

The first months of Macron's quinquenato have accelerated demolition. Macron named leading representatives of Republicans as Prime Minister (Édouard Philippe), Minister of Economy and Finance (Bruno Le Maire) and minister of budgets, Gerald Darmanin: a hostile takeover of Conservatives. And it launched economic measures, such as labour reform or partial abolition of tax on fortunes, which were traditional proposals on right: an ideological takeover.

The right was divided. The moderates believed that y should support President, whose policies were those that had been defending for years. It's case of Riester. Ors opted to reaffirm what y differentiated from Macron and even more to right to flirt with FN. "Recovering FN voters is normal, we make politics and we want maximum number of voters," says Riester. "But do it with ideas of FN, with its vocabulary, its practices, no!"

Riester, expelled from Republicans, has founded a new party, Agir (to act), which will look for its space between LREM and Republicans. At 43 years, it sounds as macroniano as Macron, but insists on maintaining its "right" identity in a different party. Or dissidents, such as Minister Darmanin himself or head of primaries on right a year ago, Thierry Solère, have directly joined LREM. Prime Minister Philippe remains without a license.

Today party of Macron — neir socialist nor traditional right — is true Volkspartei in France. In or words, closest thing to original Gaullist party.

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