It seems to have become his obsession and, perhaps, the condition of his victory. “The union of the rights”, that Eric Zemmour continues to call for during this presidential campaign, is it possible?
If this notion has been brought back to the forefront of the political scene in the wake of the candidacy of the former polemicist – a fervent defender of this rally even before his entry into the race -, this is not however specific to the current period. Under the Third Republic (1870-1940), some were already seeking to bring together the legitimist, modernist (liberal) and Bonapartist right, recalls Victor Delage, head of studies at the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol).
Placed in the current political landscape, this union of the rights would then bring together “the more conservative fringe of the Republicans to the voters of the National Rally”, he describes. And why not recover part of the electorate who had turned to Emmanuel Macron, at the time of the fall of François Fillon in 2017.
By recording the rallies of Guillaume Peltier, ex-number 2 of LR, of Damien Rieu, Jérôme Rivière or Gilbert Collard, former RNs, but also the support of the sovereignist Philippe de Villiers, Eric Zemmour has already begun to sketch the outlines of the rest of the gathering he calls for. But could it be followed by voters?
A vast electorate, which does not agree on everything
“On cultural and identity issues, there is a porosity of the traditional right-wing electorate, especially concerning immigration and security”, analyzes Victor Delage. Enough to consider, on this point, the possibility of a common vote. “On the other hand, on the economy and liberalism, it will be much more difficult”, he nuances. “The traditional right is more open to globalization, but not the extreme right.” And to conclude: “there are convergences, but important divergences persist”.
This difficulty of imagining an identical vote from a global electorate ranging from the Republicans to the National Rally was also highlighted by an OpinionWay study for Cevipof, released on Tuesday 25 January. It appears there in particular that 77% of people thinking of voting for Valérie Pécresse are in favor of giving more freedom to companies, while they are 65% on the side of Eric Zemmour and 57% for Marine Le Pen. LR supporters are also 69% to think that fewer civil servants are needed, while they are 62% among the Reconquest troops! and 49% in the ranks of the RN.
However, when asked “if France should close itself further on immigration”, the electorate of Eric Zemmour agrees at 91%, that of Marine Le Pen at 86% and that of Valérie Pécresse at 78%. About authority, the fight against delinquency and daily insecurity, sympathizers, all clans combined, are also on the same wavelength.
The union of the rights, so that it materializes one day in the ballot boxes, will then require a vast questioning on the ideological direction to be given to the movement.
A rather conceivable union in the long term?
A process that seems impossible to achieve between now and the presidential election, but the day after it, the idea could prevail. “The movement that Eric Zemmour is launching already seems to be in the aftermath,” observes Victor Delage. “The union of rights is no longer a taboo for many. He will seek to embody this new right, especially if Valérie Pécresse is not in the second round, because the future of the Les Républicains party, after three consecutive failures, will arise.
If the future of the union of the rights were to be written over a longer period than that of the presidential campaign, a name should then come back with force. That of Marion Maréchal. Reputed to be close to Eric Zemmour but niece of Marine Le Pen, to see her come out of her silence to support a candidate would be surprising. On the other hand, once the Elysian meeting is over, the situation will change. “It’s always difficult to decide what a person will do, but it is sure that they can play an essential role in this reconstruction”, analyzes Victor Delage. “She also advocates the unification of the rights, she is not incompatible with Eric Zemmour”.
For the latter, still outpaced by his right-wing competitors in the polls despite the positive momentum of rallying to his cause, having him now by his side would in any case certainly reshuffle the cards.