these right-wing voters who will vote LFI

these right-wing voters who will vote LFI
these right-wing voters who will vote LFI

« C“Hurrah!” A voter for La France Insoumise, the son of business leader Philippe Grard has been sending gently mocking messages to his Giscardian father for the past few days: “I hope it won’t hurt your heart too much to have to put in a Popular Front envelope after all these years of contempt.” The boss of an industrial SME, Philippe Grard lives in Mauguio, a town of 16,500 inhabitants in Hérault, near Montpellier.

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The sixty-year-old, who has always voted, in every election, and always for a candidate, considers himself a “centre-right voter”. But this time, he is going to make a gesture that he never thought he would make one day: vote left. And this time, really very left: for a candidate from La France insoumise. The one and only solution, on his scale, to participate in the “republican front” and “block the National Rally”.

In the 9e constituency of Hérault, which extends from the suburbs of Montpellier to Lunel and La Grande-Motte, three candidates qualified for the second round: Charles Alloncle, 30 years old, former president of Jeunes avec Sarkozy, LR tendency Ciotti parachuted from Paris to represent the RN, Nadia Belaouni, 46 years old, former union delegate, head of a craft business, and activist of La France insoumise. And the outgoing deputy Patrick Vignal, 66 years old, socialist deputy, then macronist, of the constituency, since 2012.

Coming third with 25% of the vote, Vignal withdrew, asking in the local edition to Free Midi, that “not one” of his 14,918 votes “would go to the National Rally”. Without explicitly calling for a vote for the rebellious candidate, whom he had beaten in the second round in 2022. “If I had said “I call for a vote for Belaouni”, I would have strengthened the RN”, the outgoing president assures us.

“The same pain as the people on the left when they voted for Chirac”

Since his withdrawal, messages from “orphaned” and “disoriented” voters have been piling up in his inbox. “Who should I vote for on Sunday? We’re lost,” warns one doctor. “On Sunday, I’m voting blank,” announces another. “Don’t mess around, stay in the race!” urges a third, for whom “the fight is not over.” “Your real opponent is not the RN, but the Islamic Popular Front, Mélenchon and his gang.” “Sir, I wanted to get in touch with you to thank you for withdrawing,” writes an engineer. “I imagine it’s not easy for you. Just as it won’t be easy for me, to put it mildly, to vote LFI, or rather against the RN on Sunday.”

Business leader Philippe Grard also wrote a little note to Patrick Vignal, for whom he voted in the first round: “I told him that I was going to vote for La France Insoumise, while holding my nose.” “I made my choice recently, but it’s painful,” confided the leader. For him, “fundamentally, LFI is as anti-democratic as the National Rally,” and “Mélenchon’s person can lead to conflicts.” But the far right, now on the threshold of power, would be even more dangerous in his eyes.

“Convinced” that “France must remain in an Atlantic alliance”, he fears that the RN “will throw us into the arms of the Chinese after those of the Russians”. Married to a Franco-Moroccan, he also fears a rise in racism. But “does not believe” that the RN will be able to implement its economic program: “The stock market will fall, and they will be caught up by reality, like the left and the austerity turn in 1983.”

Slipping the LFI ballot into the envelope will hurt him. “But this pain is the first time that people on the right have felt it. People on the left have been experiencing it for years. When they voted for Chirac, they too had to hold their noses to go and vote.”

“I hate the LFI candidate, but I will vote for her”

“I loathe the LFI candidate,” assures Julie Pronost, a Lunelloise who was, for two terms, deputy for tourism to the LR mayor of La Grande-Motte. “She doesn’t correspond at all to the idea I have of politics. I don’t like radical positions that play on the emotional register.” But this 50-year-old administrative assistant, who voted for Patrick Vignal and defines herself as “a left-wing Macronist”, will nevertheless vote for Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party.

She admits to “having asked herself the question of a blank vote”. But she does not want the RN in any case: “I do not adhere at all to their ideas, to the catastrophes they predict for us and to their deadly theories. I am extremely worried about our individual and collective freedoms. There is already an ambient racism in France, I fear that it will express itself even more freely.” She would have preferred “to be able to vote for a socialist candidate”, but too bad: she will vote for LFI.

Alain, for his part, will do nothing. “I will carry out my civic act as I have always done,” this retiree, a voter for Emmanuel Macron and Patrick Vignal, told us, whom we met on Thursday morning at the Lunel market. “I will vote, but neither for one nor the other. I have always voted for someone. This is the first time that I will not take a position.” Blocking the RN? “That will not solve the problem. What will they do after that? They will not succeed. It will be chaos, as General de Gaulle used to say.”

“I will vote blank or for the RN. We have never tried”

“When I see Mélenchon showing up with a Palestinian activist in a keffiyeh, and when I hear that he wants to disarm the police, there is no question of me voting for LFI,” asserts a mustachioed retiree, “35 years in the national police force,” who does not want to give us his first name. He did not understand that the outgoing Macronist MP “is rallying to the LFI candidate”: “I will not follow him.” So he will vote RN “for the first time.”

“As my grandfather used to say, the red flag is no better than the far right,” philosophizes a market trader, who has “always voted right.” The man, who feels like he’s “living worse than he did ten years ago,” would like “things to change in France.” He will vote “either blank, or for the RN. We’ve never tried.” But he is not against a government “that would take good ideas from the right and the left.”

A little further on, the two candidates are walking around the market, leaflets in hand, surrounded by their militant troops. “I have no doubt that Patrick Vignal’s voters will feel much closer to our approach to national unity, rather than that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France insoumise, and its outrageous and unrealistic program,” says Ciotti and Bardella’s candidate, Charles Alloncle.

At his side, to support him, one of the four diverse right-wing candidates in the first round, Anthony Belin (3.43%). “LFI voters did not hesitate for a single second on several occasions when it was necessary to block the National Front,” pleads the Insoumise candidate Nadia Belaouni, who is running as a “candidate of the New Popular Front” and is posing as a bulwark against an RN that “proposes the great dismantling of our social model and our institutions.” We will know on Sunday whether she managed to convince a significant portion of Patrick Vignal’s 14,918 voters. And the 29,271 abstainers in the first round.



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