Immersed before the legislative elections: “I know that nothing will change, I just want the RN to pass”, the far right uninhibited in Valras

And you, what do you think of the political situation in the country? For a week, Midi Libre goes to meet the inhabitants of Occitanie, far from the party apparatus and the words of experts: to Uzès, the postcard town where the RN has just conquered the duchy, with the breeders and farmers from the villages of the Montagne Noire where Gascon sheep and cows graze, with the inhabitants of the medium-sized town of Narbonne, the metropolises of Nîmes and Montpellier, with the workers of the industrial belt of Rodez, in the former mining town of The Grand Combe. In Valras, where the far right won more than 60% of the European votes, fishermen and sea lovers have their say.

“Politics, since I stopped working in the fish market, has been Marine” : on the seafront of Valras-Plage, these 1.8 km where residents and tourists meet, with a central heart of small buildings overlooking the sea after the beach protected by neat hedges of ganivelles and restaurants on the ground floor , framed on one side by the port, up to the fishermen’s stalls, on the other, a wilder and less lively residential area, Jean-François Liguori tells his story straightforwardly.

The cruise and fishing boat at sea, blocked by a mechanical problem, will soon follow the coast, Jean-François Liguori at the controls, and Philippe Dziedzic, retraining professionally in the sea professions, at his side.

Philippe Dziedzic: “People go into politics to get their mandate, not to help people.”
Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

On the political level, the local context can be summed up in a figure without nuance: the far right totaled 67.93% of the votes in the European elections if we add the scores of Jordan Bardella, Marion Maréchal and Florian Philippot, with good mobilization, five points above the national average.

Leave France

In 2007, Jean-François Liguori voted for Sarkozy, before switching to the RN: “I vote “the man”, according to how he speaks. Marine, she speaks well”. And it echoes the context: “At 20, when I was a fisherman, I lived better than today. When I had a fish store, I saw that purchasing power was becoming lighter and lighter, people were living in the open. Since I sold the business, I do a lot of replacements, towing, in the summer, there is always something to take.”. Not for “lead the life of luxury”, but “get by”.

It’s more complicated for children: “They are struggling, with minimum wage jobs, and if today, a couple doesn’t have 4,000 euros per month to live on, it’s complicated.”, notes the Héraultais. But as “Politicians give money to anyone…”

For the moment, he is resisting the temptation to settle in Spain. His teammate of the day, Philippe Dziedzic, 57, who started “at the factory 9 hours a day” then became a civil servant, also has the project of “leave France, to earn money, to change your life”. He made his calculations to buy a catamaran, the demonstration is clear, more precise than his political thinking: “People don’t go into politics to help people or defend ideas, but to have a mandate. We see more battles of ego than of ideas, and they stir up hatred to obtain votes.”

No list will have its own: “I don’t vote.”

Jean-Claude, former CGT delegate: “I no longer believe in it”

And perhaps not that of Jean-Claude (Editor’s note: only the first names are given for people who have not communicated their name), 58 years old, “former CGT delegate”, who helps out on the fishermen’s quay: “For the first time in my life, I did not vote for the Europeans. I no longer believe in it.” If he decides, “it won’t be for the extremes.”

Jérémy Pace, fishing boss, remains undecided.
Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

Jérémy Pace, the fishing boss, remains discreet about his intentions. He prefers to talk about the profession, and the money lost in the margins: “We sell sole for between 30 and 32 euros, I saw it yesterday on a stall for 56 euros.” Professionals face the “increase in diesel”, “in the price of fillets”

“Le Pen father, I perhaps would not have taken the step”, confides colleague Jérémie Sauzé, 47 years old, whose “thirty-two by profession”a “passion”. “I’m not that interested in politics, but I’ve always voted. I think we need a shift to the right. The RN, we haven’t tried. Yes, good of course, it’s my choice, I don’t hide it, I don’t care about promises, and I know that on July 7, nothing will change, I just want them to pass, to see.explains the quadra, who is spontaneously surprised by the attitude “from a guy like Kylian” (Editor’s note: Mbappé): “I wish he’d just said go vote. He’d better focus on the ball.”

At training time, the traditional rowing club “Lous Ramaires”, an institution in the city, prefers to avoid the subject: “We are moving away from politics as much as possible.”

At the traditional rowing club
At the traditional rowing club “Lous ramaires”: “We move away from politics as much as possible”.
Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

A Valrasian invested in local life speaks frankly about it on condition of remaining anonymous. There is “over 70 years old” that he “come here”. “I’m still asked if I’m a Gabian, and for that you have to be born and have gone to primary school in Valras. It’s a world of its own, the town protects itself. With this situation, people make amalgams, it creates tensions and it gives a strong result for the extremes, assumed in an uninhibited way”he analyzes, quoting pell-mell “the explosion of summer tourism”the population increases from 4,000 to 45,000 inhabitants, unease in the face of “Biterrois who go down to the station and make no effort”and even the “parking which has just been paid for”.

“People have the impression that everything is changing and that they have no control.” And this city “retirees and people who are put in difficulty by the crisis think they have been left behind, this is not the first time, Valras was not in the Racine coastal development mission“, he recalls, anxious not to “not have any problems with my neighbors”.

At the camping
At the “Le Central” campsite, “violence” and “lack of respect for others” worry retirees.
Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

“We are so disappointed with everything”: at the campsite, Le Central, tourists fully in tune

“Lots of regulars”often local tourists, immersed in the life of the city: Freddy Corbière, the welcoming manager of the Central, “the only campsite in the town”, opens the door to meeting customers already present despite the timid start of summer. On Avenue Charles Cauquil, the shopping street of Valras-Plage, you could almost miss the entrance to the site, near the Le bleu marine condominium.

The political context does not spare vacationers. “I’m going to the RN, I tell you frankly”, announces Véronique, guest in Marie-Josée’s bungalow. The neighbors live in Mondavezan, in Haute-Garonne, a town very close to Martres-Tolosane, the village of the president of the Region Carole Delga. “It’s been a disaster lately, I’ve just lost 200 euros, the equivalent of my rent”. At 62, Véronique is struggling to make ends meet with income provided mainly by a disabled adult allowance, increased after the Yellow Vest conflict, but progress has proven to be penalizing with its side effects.

“Everything has become a luxury, a kilo of peaches for 4 euros is not possible, cherries for 12 euros is not possible,” continues Marie-Josée, retired, who missed “for the first time an election in the last European elections”and will also be absent in the first round of the legislative elections, without regrets: “We are so disappointed with everything.”

“I am in favor of social if it is targeted”

“My main concern is the increase in violence”announces Annick who is arriving from Côte-d’Or. “Violence and non-respect for everything. People no longer know how to be respected and nothing is respectable”, adds Frédérique, from Loir-et-Cher. She also says to herself “favorable to the social if it is targeted, for the accidents of life”.

But in politics, “itow can we position ourselves? We don’t know who represents who.” Annick doesn’t believe in politics anymore, and what she sees today“sick.” With her husband, however, she had “hoped for Macron”, “we said to ourselves that he was a young…”

“I don’t even know who I’m going to vote for yet,” assures Annie, from the Ardennes, frightened by the daily news: “It’s not happy. Every day there are stabbings, thefts… There are too many immigrants, we no longer dare to react too much, people no longer respect anything. Politics, I do my duty but I never believed in it. Many say that change is needed, will it be better or worse…” Huguette, from the Toulouse suburbs, remembers the time when “it was the countryside”. Now she “Don’t go out in the evening anymore.” She too will do her duty, with one idea in mind: “O“I’ve never tried it, change.”

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