The change of address is discreet, but symbolic. Valérie Pécresse’s party, Libres !, has just moved from boulevard Saint-Germain to rue de Turin (Paris 8th arrondissement)… in the premises which already housed the headquarters of its victorious regional campaign of 2015. All eyes are on June 2021 – date on which his re-election should take place, if the Covid does not decide otherwise. There too, the Pécresse camp is advancing stealthily. She will be officially a candidate as late as possible, in order to fully push her advantage as President-in-Office. His opponents are multiplying the skirmishes? She will be “at work” her teams will repeat tirelessly. A great classic.
But his campaign has already started, quietly. Since September, the “Ile-de-France Rassemblage” collective – led by vice-presidents Florence Portelli and Othman Nasrou, its close guard in the region – has been working to enhance its balance sheet and prepare the ground. A large number of leaflets were distributed at the end of December to remind people of the region’s action against Covid. He’s got to be limped in Paris again these days. “On the Covid, it shows that the region can be more useful than the State”, comments Florence Portelli. Valérie Pécresse also relies on her balance sheet, which Ile-de-France residents would consider positive (61% against 39% negative) according to the confidential elements of an Ipsos poll carried out in October.
A program, “not a 3 Suisses catalog”
His teams are already working on his program, without knowing when they will enter the campaign – the fault of the Covid. “It’s like you start cooking without knowing when people are coming to eat. So we put ourselves on a low fire, ”illustrates Jean-Didier Berger, mayor of Clamart and general delegate of Libres !, approached to take over the campaign. If the pandemic runs out of steam, the Pécresse camp could start to move at the end of February.
No question of only doing health, sustainable development will have a prominent place in its program, which will “not be a catalog of the 3 Suisses” of measures, slips Berger. “She has a very offensive vision of ecology. This will be a strong point of the campaign, ”assures a close elected official. Audrey Pulvar (DVG), Julien Bayou (EELV) or Clémentine Autain (LFI) will be waiting for him at the turn on the subject.
If it is given in the lead in the 1st round (around 30%), the 2nd could in any case be a headache for Pécresse. The united left would represent a real threat – we must remember that in 2015 it had delighted the region by a hair. So LREM voices will be worth a lot. At the present time, it is the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer who is given candidate, with 15% of voting intentions. “There will be no partisan agreement,” promises Jean-Didier Berger, not convinced that the LREM candidate can stay in the second round. “I do not even know if there will be a candidate En Marche”, wonders Delphine Bürkli.
“She does not allow herself to think about the presidential election”
The mayor (ex-LR) of the IXth was supported by LREM in the municipalities, but committed with Pécresse to the region, she reiterated her support. “Valerie, given her record, must be the candidate for overtaking,” she defends. Implied: it could accommodate walkers on its list. According to the Ipsos survey, 69% of LREM voters judge the outgoing president’s record positively.
Pécresse must take care of its regional strategy, if it wants to ogle towards the Elysee. For now, she refuses to talk about it, even to her relatives. “She is very methodical. She does not allow herself to think about the presidential election as long as she has not reconquered the region, ”confides a relative. “She never talks about it, I don’t know what her decision is,” continues another. Methodical or indecisive? The mystery hovers. His direct competitor for the nomination on the right, Hauts-de-France boss Xavier Bertrand, made the choice to accelerate very early to cut the grass under the feet of others. Pécresse’s entourage defends themselves against any setback: “You don’t jump hedge n ° 2 before hedge n ° 1”.