Eclipsed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the media coverage of regional elections in Ile-de-France, the departmental campaign was marked on Wednesday by the closing of the submission of candidatures.
In Seine-Saint-Denis, the main stake of the ballot on June 20 and 27 is whether the left, at the helm of the departmental council since its creation in 1968, will resist the push from the right.
The first now holds 12 cantons, the second 9.
Read alsoHow right and left hope to win the key cantons of Seine-Saint-Denis
On the left, unity is strength
Stéphane Troussel (PS) launched his campaign on April 20 in Noisy-le-Grand, one of the key cantons of these elections.
The president of the department, in office since 2012, was accompanied that day by Frédérique Denis, the president of the EELV group on the departmental council, and the communist senator Fabien Gay.
A trio that symbolizes the union of the left for this election.
In towns like Aubervilliers and Saint-Ouen, where PS and PCF fought for years, these agreements are historic.
"To defend equality, respond to the ecological emergency and strengthen solidarity, this required a rally", underlines Stéphane Troussel.
“The crisis has revealed deep inequalities and our department has been the most exposed, abounds Fabien Gay. The double penalty for the inhabitants, it would be that the department is managed by the right. The PCF will present its own candidacies in cantons where the risk of tipping to the right is considered minor.
The agreement on the left does not include France Insoumise. In the canton of Tremblay, there will be no candidacy against the tandem made up of rebellious Pierre Laporte and communist Dominique Dellac (PCF). “For our part, we have taken our responsibilities,” breathes Stéphane Troussel, who hoped for reciprocity from LFI on the other cantons. “With the PS, we still have some differences, answers Pierre Laporte. We are still waiting for the criticism of Holland's five-year term. But that doesn't mean that there won't be deals in the second round. "
LFI had proposed a global agreement with the PCF, which refused it, also deciding to position itself canton by canton.
"It is wrong to say that we will go it alone," continues Pierre Laporte.
We have agreements with the PCF in many places.
We also decided not to introduce anyone to Noisy-le-Grand: where there is a risk of the right or the extreme right, we also took our responsibilities.
Then there are a lot of places where there will be duels on the left.
We can measure our proposals and our influence.
On the right, "municipalization of the ballot" and hope for a changeover
The Republicans and their allies, foremost among them the UDI, must win two more cantons than in 2015 to overturn the hemicycle.
"We have put ourselves in order of battle to achieve this," assures Philippe Dallier, president of the LR federation in Seine-Saint-Denis.
“Six years ago, we had fairly classic negotiations which aimed to satisfy each party, adds Jean-Christophe Lagarde, deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis and president of the UDI.
This time we are approaching these elections in a more practical, less political way.
Clearly, the personalities most identified by the population were invested, regardless of their labels.
"We strongly encouraged our mayors to stand as candidates," confirms Philippe Dallier, who cites Brigitte Marsigny in Noisy-le-Grand, Karine Franclet in Aubervilliers or Pierre-Yves Martin in Livry-Gargan as an example.
They are the ones who have the best chance of winning.
A "municipalization of the ballot" which Jean-Christophe Lagarde hopes will allow "to break the poverty trap organized by the socialo-communists".
“With the 2024 Olympics and the supermetro, 93 is at a turning point in terms of economy and employment, points out the former mayor of Drancy.
Each municipality therefore has an interest in being supported by the Department.
But today, when we give 10 euros to a city on the left, we give 3 euros to a city on the right.
The National Rally and the Republic on the march in ambush
Deprived of elected officials in Seine-Saint-Denis, the National Rally is moving towards its elections with fewer pairs than six years ago (15 against 21).
Six years ago, the party which was still called the National Front was maintained in Drancy and Tremblay-en-France, where a certain Jordan Bardella had won in the first round.
“There are fewer of us than in 2015 but we will be present in all the strategic cantons,” emphasizes Sébastien Jolivet, RN delegate in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Our candidates come from all walks of life.
They are executives, workers, representatives of civil society… ”
If the objective of the RN is to nationalize the stakes - "This is the last ballot before the presidential election", observes Sébastien Jolivet - he hopes "two or three pairs in the second round".
For its part, the Republic on the move will present candidates under the banner "Common House" (alongside Modem and Agir, in particular) in only eight cantons of the department.
"These elections are an opportunity to continue the anchoring initiated during the municipal elections", explains deputy Stéphane Testé (LREM).
As part of agreements, his movement obtained last year elected officials in Aubervilliers, Livry-Gargan, Clichy-sous-Bois ...
In the Troussel - Dallier standoff, "we will certainly not be able to be kingmaker", recognizes the parliamentarian, who does not want to project himself on this "third round".
In Seine-Saint-Denis, LREM has only three deputies.
One of them, Patrice Anato, will be a candidate in a key canton, that of Noisy-le-Grand, which the right hopes to conquer.
Participation, the great unknown
On the right and on the left, the level of participation raises a number of questions in a context that is not very conducive to the campaign.
"All the forecasts that I read here and there are very hazardous," says Jean-Christophe Lagarde.
Nobody knows who will come and vote.
I do not believe for a single second that voters have the departmental in mind.
Traveling to Sevran on March 27, Stéphane Troussel urged candidates and activists from this canton to favor individual discussions and to “identify our voters one by one”: “As soon as they meet one, they must leave with their phone number. or their email! "