“It’s unfortunate to have come to this”: in Falicon, the story of a swing to the right of the right

“It’s unfortunate to have come to this”: in Falicon, the story of a swing to the right of the right
“It’s unfortunate to have come to this”: in Falicon, the story of a swing to the right of the right

JI am perplexed.” He still can’t believe it, this retiree who anxiously watches his bus to Nice. Like most of the Faliconnais surveyed this Monday, he prefers to keep his name secret. But not his feelings: “I don’t really understand why we voted like that. We are still privileged compared to certain areas of Nice…”

Falicon, the day after the first round of the early legislative elections. Not a soul, or almost. Dead calm. However, it is in this village bordering Nice that Bernard Chaix, candidate of the union of the right, achieved a resounding score: 55.38% of the votes cast. His best performance in the 3rd constituency of the Alpes-Maritimes, where he won 41.47% of the voters.

In many ways, Falicon illustrates the transformation of the LR electorate on the Côte d’Azur. This dormitory village of 2,000 souls was already leaning to the right. But not as much. In 2022, in the first round of the legislative elections, RN and Reconquête! totaled 29% of the votes. On Sunday, more than one in two voters validated the Ciottist strategy. Gone are the dams between Les Républicains and the National Rally. The switch has indeed taken place.

“People said stop!”

“In Falicon, we already voted RN a lot, recalls Jean-Pierre Tichadou, 85 years old, a seventh generation Faliconnais. It’s a very traditional population, which holds on to the land, which is a bit fed up with what’s happening in France: loss of identity, insecurity, uncontrolled immigration… All of that is reflected in their vote. People have said stop!”

At the foot of his imposing two-hundred-year-old olive tree, this notable praises the merits of Bernard Chaix: “A very good candidate, appreciated and charismatic, very well-known in Nice, who was the boss of small businesses…” Not a political tenor, certainly. But he knew how to ride the wave of the momentum of an RN which, according to Jean-Pierre Tichadou, “changed a lot”.

“Macron, the only one responsible”

In his estate where he produces oil and wine, Jean-Pierre Tichadou deciphers the rightward direction of Falicon voters. Justine Meddah / Nice Matin.

“We can no longer equate them with what Jean-Marie Le Pen said thirty or forty years ago”agrees Laurence, 48. This mother who works in the medical sector is terribly angry with Emmanuel Macron: “He is the only one responsible for this rise of the extremes. By wanting to do “at the same time”, he killed the classic left and right. I even regret François Hollande, that’s saying something! At least with him, there was debate…”

So yes, “It’s unfortunate that it has come to this”Laurence concedes. She is “worried about (ses) two girls”think about sending them to study abroad, “given the atmosphere”. She can’t “no longer see in painting” Emmanuel Macron and his policy. “By trying to sweep the dust under the carpet, the longer we wait, the more the pressure cooker will explode…”

“Right now, we’re afraid of everything”

In the dormitory village bordering Nice, urban issues have been invited into the voting booth. Justine Meddah / Nice Matin.

For now, on the Place de l’Église, the song of the fountain mixes with the laughter of the neighboring school. The small municipal police station hums serenely, a stone’s throw from the town hall. We are far from the impoverished neighborhoods of Ariane or neighboring Saint-André-de-la-Roche. Even if it “There are not only rich people hererecalls Jean-Pierre Tichadou. There are children of sharecroppers too.”

Surprising, this LR-RN change? “No not at all, says Daniel, 82, who went out to walk a friend’s dog. The Nice region and the Côte d’Azur have gone from the right to the National Rally. People are fed up! They need a change. Right now, in the French mindset, we are afraid of everything: afraid of not being able to eat, afraid of not being able to go out… So people are turning the table over, without really worrying about the consequences.”

Shared opinions

At the Deux Marcel bowling alley, the card game evokes the poker move of dissolution. Justine Meddah / Nice Matin.

In the alleys of Falicon, this union of the right does not, however, have unanimous support. “I’m not happy about it, even though we expected it.”sighs a retiree. “It’s good like this”says a thirty-year-old, shopping bags in hand. Another resident sympathizes with the fate of the outgoing MP, Philippe Pradal: “Someone very professional, serious, discreet. Perhaps too discreet for our times…” At the same time, the Horizons candidate threw in the towel.

Nothing to disturb the fans of the Clos Bouliste des Deux-Marcel, on the Saint-Michel area, on the border of Nice and the affluent Gairaut district. Claude, who arrived from Tunisia seventy years ago, rents “youth, modernism” Embodied by Jordan Bardella. “Le Pen is finished!” Around the game of rummy, these retirees practice alternation in their own way: “One time he wins, one time I win.” As a nod to the great gamble of dissolution.

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