For several days, the issue had been discussed, under wraps, between political leaders. Not a lunch between elected officials without this questioning in an undertone: will Emmanuel Macron postpone the regional elections? Within the majority, Wednesday, the bar was clearly tilted for postponement.
Establishment of a commission
"Even Xavier Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse, who are not in favorable positions, would benefit from it", explains an executive of LREM. Finally, the Élysée on Thursday (October 15th) confirmed the establishment of an independent commission to consider the feasibility of the March elections. "We decided to set up a commission that will bring together all the political forces, with sanitary lighting to see when can we hold these" regional and departmental elections, "said the government spokesperson. Gabriel Attal, adding: "The decision must be taken before the official campaign begins, by the end of the year, beginning of the year 2021".
Do not reproduce the municipal mess
The first idea is not to reproduce the mess of the municipal authorities, whose maintenance, just before confinement, may have accelerated the spread of the virus. A first round which was followed, in June, by a second round without any real electoral campaign. The maneuver would be possible because the mandate of the regional advisers lasts six years. However, in 2015, the elections having taken place in December, this one should normally end in December 2021. But in 2015, the legislator decided exceptionally to shorten it and to fix the date of the following regional ones in March 2021 so that the poll does not take place too close to the presidential election scheduled for spring 2022.
A campaign that will not be able to unfold normally
Now, with the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, things have changed. This Thursday, François Patriat assured: "I do not see, in current conditions, how a campaign could be held under normal conditions. We must postpone the departmental and regional elections after the presidential election, it is clear. Especially if the virus is still there in a year. " And to add: "The time has come to protect the French. Electoral concerns can give way to health requirements. We must focus on the essential. The French have already known municipal elections," said the senator LREM of Côte-d'Or.
But beyond the legitimate health concerns, the maneuver could serve more political objectives by complicating the strategy of two regional candidates, Xavier Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse, who do not rule out challenging the head of state in the presidential election.
Both hoped to emerge victorious from the regions to approach the 2022 campaign under good auspices.