Do national politicians prefer an electorate in the capital?

A few days after the second round of the presidential elections, the finalist of the environmentalist primary Sandrine Rousseau was invested in 9.º Paris electorate, at the expense of Claire Monod, but acclaimed by EELV activists.

Former regional councilor for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, professor-researcher of economics at the University of Lille, Sandrine Rousseau invoked “personal reasons” that justify her coming to Paris. In another style, Jean-Michel Blancquer, Minister of National Education, residing in Paris, performs in Loiret, just 140 kilometers from the capital…

Home to institutions, parties and the media, Paris seems to be the nerve center of political life. Are these candidacies a magnifying glass or is there a specific request from candidates to be presented in Paris, or at least not too far away?

Voluntary or forced exile

Not historically, according to Emeric Bréhier, director of the observatory of political life at the Jean Jaurès foundation and former PS deputy. “It is even the opposite movement with exfiltration of Parisians sent to the provinces! »

Several reasons can give rise to an exile, voluntary or forced: the need to restructure or revitalize political activity in a given territory, or the need to send a national personality to smooth the various facilities.

“In the mid-1970s, for example, Henri Emmanuelli was sent back to his home in the Landes at the request of François Mitterrand to revive the socialist party, recalls Emeric Bréhier. He then created sections in every small town in the department and achieved his goal. We can also cite the case of Alain Juppé who left the post of deputy mayor of Paris to replace Jacques Chaban-Delmas as mayor of Bordeaux in 1995. More recently, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who for a long time was elected in Essonne, ran in the fourth constituency of Bouches-du-Rhône. Election studies have shown that political color can change. In this case, Marseille was the city in which it came first in the first round of the presidential elections. Sending him there might end up reversing the trend…”

But there can also be flaws, skydiving is not an exact science. Can witness this same candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 11º Pas-de-Calais constituency in 2012, historically left-wing land, where he failed against Marine Le Pen. “These airdrops must not be denied or resisted. They are justified because they can give impetus to political formation at the local level. There is a courage, a risk that can be beneficial. »

For the next scrutiny, several parachute launches should be noted, such as that of Gabriel Amar, son-in-law of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, formerly elected in Essonne and candidate for Villeurbanne, in the Rhône; Marc Ferracci, close to Emmanuel Macron, adviser to Jean Castex, French candidate in Switzerland; Stanislas Rigault, Youth President with Zemmour and originally from Maine-et-Loire, for the 2nd constituency of Vaucluse; Emeric Salmon, departmental delegate of the RN in Morbihan, who will present himself in Haute-Saône.

New Age

The other reason candidates might take the opportunity to leave the capital is math, adds Emeric Bréhier. “For a long time Paris was the reserve of RPR and PS. The constituencies were extremely sectioned on the left and right. With around twenty seats, the room for maneuver was therefore limited…” Until 2017.

With the arrival of the presidential party La République en Marche, renamed Renaissance, the Parisian electoral map was completely remodeled. “Many PS and UMP seats were lost. This renewal of political life enabled the liberation of the electorates, explains Thomas Ehrard, a doctor in political science and author of a thesis on the electoral division of the legislative electorates during the Fifth Republic. 13 seats were thus won by the majority. For example, the 2º François Fillon’s electorate went to Gilles Le Gendre, who beat Nathalie Kosciusko Morizet. the 11º The electorate, historically socialist, was acquired by Marielle De Sarnez for Modem, an ally of En Marche. Another factor: the end of the accumulation of mandates that led to a setback for local mandates and, thus, freed up other seats for deputies.

Reward for the most loyal

Political sociologist, Etienne Ollion (1) closely observed this new assembly: “If you look at the map of the Parisian arrondissements, it is clear that it is the relatives of Emmanuel Macron who were placed there. Persons who were found to be eligible and reasonably aligned. It’s a kind of retribution for the most loyal like Gilles Legendre, Benjamin Griveaux, Stanislas Guerini…”

According to him, this attests to the candidates’ desire to be in Paris for practical but also strategic reasons. “Being in Paris or the Paris region is considered an advantage because it allows you to be in the National Assembly and in your constituency at the same time. The two types of work can be mixed more easily during the week without crazy transport times. Furthermore, Paris and its suburbs represent a layer of political preferences. So, you can easily find a place that will be favorable to you. More or less LREM in 91 and LFI in 93. And finally, Paris is where everything happens: invitations from the media, meetings in ministries, meetings and informal events…”

winning voters

Arguments nuanced by Thomas Ehrard, who believes that candidates are aimed, above all, at winnable electorates. “It turns out that there are particularly winnable constituencies in Ile-de-France. For Sandrine Rousseau, it’s the 9º of Paris which corresponds to 13º district cut in 2010 favorably to the left. In the 2017 legislative elections, LFI won 45% in the second round. Note that in the first round of the presidential election, the summed scores of the left in the 13º district represent 48.63% of the votes.


Note 01
author of the book Candidates, novices and professionals in politics, PUF back to text

Leave a Comment