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Valérie Pécresse, challenged by the rallying of the right

She had probably never experienced such a reception. Arriving at the Les Républicains (LR) party headquarters around 2pm on Saturday, December 4, Valérie Pécresse was barely able to get out of her car and take the few steps that separated her from the interior of the white-walled building on Rue de Vaugirard (Paris 15e) so much the journalists encircled it with their microphones and cameras. A figure in a crimson jacket, inaccessible to the sight of who was outside the cloud.

The results had not yet fallen, but everyone already suspected the outcome of the second round vote of LR members. The approximately 114,000 supporters who voted between Friday and Saturday chose 60.95% to designate the president of the Ile-de-France region as the right-wing candidate in the 2022 presidential election. Eric Ciotti, deputy for the Alps- Maritimes, also finalist at the end of the first round, collected 39.05% of the vote.

In the large hall on the second floor where the party conducted its induction ceremony, smiles spread from face to face among the supporters and relatives of the candidate. Many within LR have doubted her in recent months, as in recent years. “We held on, we believed in it even if we suffered, sitting very small on our seats in the Assembly, the mockery of our comrades”, joked Saturday the deputy of Essonne Robin Reda.

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Mostly, show a rally image

It was surrounded by the two finalists that Christian Jacob, the boss of the party, proclaimed the results, then giving the floor to the loser Eric Ciotti. Valérie Pécresse waited a few minutes to speak for the other unfortunate candidates – Xavier Bertrand, Michel Barnier and Philippe Juvin – to take the stage with her. Above all, show the image of a united party. It is out of the question to let voters believe that the right has fallen back into its pitfalls. And too bad if everyone, especially within the management, does not necessarily display a smile.

“For the first time in its history, the party of General de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy will have a candidate,” recalls Valérie Pécresse

“For the first time in its history, the party of General de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy will have a candidate”, declared immediately Valérie Pécresse, emotion in her voice. Today, “I think of all women”, added, with a smile, the former minister of higher education of François Fillon, before thanking the members “To have had this audacity” to designate it.

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