With the defection of lawyer Gilbert Collard, who joined the ranks of his party this weekend, Eric Zemmour has taken another step in the confrontation with Marine Le Pen. And even if it should be noted that Gilbert Collard is careful to say that he continues to get along well with Marine Le Pen, he is a known, identifiable figure, a transfer of weight as they say in the sports transfer window.
From now on, the strategy of the candidate for the presidential election is clear: to try to relaunch himself and get out of the false flat in which the polls tape him, he must take initiatives, recreate the news, for example by showing that he retains a capacity of attraction sufficient to devitalize Marine Le Pen’s party and strip it of its elected representatives. It is also rumored that other MEPs will follow.
The gap is widening between the two far-right candidates
In the short term, these desertions deal a blow to the morale of those who are robbed. But it is not sure that it is effective. Firstly because it exacerbates what has become a real hatred between the two far-right leaders. In reality, contrary to what one might think, these two do not know each other very well, but between them, the gap has widened, under the effect of contempt (that of Zemmour for Le Pen) and anger (that of Le Pen with regard to Zemmour).
And as always in this kind of circumstance, the entourages of the two candidates add to it, small sentences and innuendo in support. Between the two, it is now a political struggle to the death. And, as long as they both have their 500 signatures, we can be sure that they will go all the way, each camped on their electoral base. In favor of Marine Le Pen, a popular, solid, rather loyal electorate if we judge by the polls which continue to place her between 17 and 18% in the first round, that is to say side by side with Valérie Pécresse . And for Eric Zemmour, a vote formed more by the upper middle classes, older.
A profitable strategy?
This distribution of votes between the two leaders shows the limit of the poaching strategy undertaken by Eric Zemmour against the National Rally. Because it is not at all certain that those who leave will take voters with them. And then this hostility between them is not the best way to prepare a gathering of forces for a possible second round. To beat Emmanuel Macron, today at the top of the polls, it would not take a single vote missing from that of the two candidates of the national right who would be in the second round. And so far, it’s gone badly.
Eric Zemmour also leads this poaching strategy vis-à-vis the Republican right, with Guillaume Peltier, former number two of the Republicans. A defection for the moment isolated and which does not seem to destabilize the party of Valérie Pécresse. On the contrary, the Republican candidate continues to try to put together the pieces of a right divided for years. And what happened at the end of the week is an important moment for her: she showed up with Laurent Wauquiez, the very man who had caused her to leave the Les Républicains party a few years ago when the president of the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region had become the boss.
The Republican right unites
All that, at least in appearance, is a thing of the past. Laurent Wauquiez is a bit like Eric Ciotti, an important figure for a whole section of the most right-wing Republican electorate. Locking this part of the LR sympathizers is to have a good chance of preventing the flight to a Zemmour who proclaims that he wants the union of the rights, from the RN to LR.
We will soon see if the alliance around Valérie Pécresse holds up over the next few weeks, but it would be the first time since the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012 that the various components of the government right manage to erase their disparities to make common cause. Valérie Pécresse is counting on the prospect of a victory to cement her camp. This is the difference with the strategy of Eric Zemmour, who is counting on the prospect of Marine Le Pen’s defeat to cement his own.