A long and slow strategic shift.
Between his Gaullian posture when he declared his candidacy last March and his return to LR announced this Friday as part of the Party Congress, Xavier Bertrand was forced to adapt to the determination of his competitors and his too much lead. slight in opinion polls.
Presidential 2022: where are the candidates in the polls?
Between March and October, Xavier Bertrand refused the primary
The former Minister of Health has always been clear: the primary is not for him. Last March, the ex-LR president of Hauts-de-France formalized his entry into the race. In the columns of the
, he explains "
" he is a candidate for the presidential election. He then assures that he does not wish to register "
in the logic of a single party
", and already declares that he does not intend to participate in a primary. “
I respect those who have a different approach and I will work with all of them,
” he adds. By leaving very early, last spring, Xavier Bertrand hopes to widen the gap in his camp. And to impose himself, polls in support, as a natural candidate.
On the right, however, the approach is not to everyone's taste. Four months later, the LR president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, the LR senator of Vendée, Bruno Retailleau, the president (Libres!) Of Île-de-France, Valérie Pécresse, and the president ( Centrists) of Normandy jointly sign a column in
Le Figaro at the
beginning of July
. With one voice, they call for the organization of a primary of the right and the center, rather than relying on “
polls, the reliability of which is more than ever in doubt
”. For the sake of "
" and "
", Xavier Bertrand declined the next day on the set of TF1. "
My conception of the presidential election is a meeting between a man, a woman and the French,
Then follow successive declarations of candidacy from personalities on the right who, for their part, plead in favor of a tie-breaking method.
To decide, the party in turn decides to organize a vote of the militants at the end of September.
The choice is made: the militants decide for a congress, which limits the vote to the members up to date of contribution, rather than to an open primary.
However, the format does not suit Xavier Bertrand, who relies on the vast Ifop survey commissioned by LR and which places him as the contender most in line with the expectations of the right-wing electorate.
In Le Figaro, he suggests that the other candidates meet so that they can line up behind him.
He also believes, on France 2, that the congress is only a "
primary in disguise
", and that a "
congress of confrontation would plunge us back into the divisions of the primary of 2016
Read also Presidential: the prospect of presenting a single candidate gives hope to the right
The declaration dates from September 30.
It took 12 days for the candidate to finally make an unexpected turnaround.
On the set of TF1, the speech held has nothing to do.
Yes, I will participate in this congress
, declares Xavier Bertrand first.
Because the Republicans ruled out the primary.
I had said my opposition to the primary which was a source of vision.
The activists have heard this message.
"The candidate now perceives in the congress of December 4"
the only way to have as quickly as possible a single candidate from the right and the center
In his strategy, Xavier Bertrand refused to return to LR
Since leaving LR almost four years ago, Picard has often criticized Parisian partisan structures. With this in mind, Xavier Bertrand therefore had no intention of taking back his party card. This whole strategy was shattered with his decision to participate in the Party Congress. The height of the situation: without being a member of LR, Xavier Bertrand could not even vote for him. While he repeated at the beginning of the week in front of the senators that he would not return to the bosom of the Republicans, the decision of his Ile-de-France competitor Valérie Pécresse to return to the bosom of his party undoubtedly pushed him on October 15 to re-join. at the party.
Despite these strategic reversals, Xavier Bertrand is still betting on his lead in the polls and therefore on his ability to qualify in the second round to make a difference with the other contenders with LR activists.
Faced with a very recovered base since his departure at the end of 2017, the president of Hauts-de-France therefore presents himself as the only chance to win his camp.