Since the beginning of the electoral campaign, the activists of Reconquête! keep a low profile in Beaucaire, a Gard town of 16,000 inhabitants. Not a “Z 2022” tag on the walls or a prominent poster of the far-right candidate for the presidential election on April 10 and 24. Even Gilbert Collard, the lawyer elected MEP on the National Rally (RN) list since 2019, who joined the Zemmour team in January, does not play on his popularity on the banks of the canal. “We come, but here, it’s special”, recognizes Anthony Leroy, from the Zemmour team.
Since 2014, the city has been run by Julien Sanchez, a young pillar of the RN of which he is the spokesperson. In 2020, for his second term, he passed the first round with 3,226 votes, or 59.5% of the votes cast and an abstention of almost 50%. During the 2017 presidential campaign, the National Rally won 55.47% in the second round. From one election to another, the vote seems to be acquired by the RN.
“At the National Rally, they don’t need to campaign, underlines Didier Falleur, Beaucairois and Attac activist who does not really believe in a Zemmour vote on these lands. Those who vote are notables, very rich peasants, pensioners. They are not that numerous but they make the difference. You will not change Beaucaire. The mayor has just announced a bonus of 30 euros or 50 euros for his employees [à la mairie] and voila. Sanchez is the gentleman com’de Beaucaire. »
“Nursery for identities”
Located on the border between the Gard, the Bouches-du-Rhône and the Vaucluse, Beaucaire would almost have the charm of Provençal villages. But behind the central square and the old restored halls, the pedestrian streets only suggest closed shops, dilapidated housing, barely hidden poverty… A disaster city with an unemployment rate of around 20% and a large immigrant population, Beaucaire has become a laboratory for the far-right party. “It’s a nursery for identities”analyzes Marie-Françoise Labbe, former French teacher. “The real problem with us is that people are not interested in what happens in town hall, in the way of governing, any more than in politics at the national level”observes the Beaucairoise.
Philippe Reynaud, just retired, does not share “not the values of the National Rally” and will stand in the way of the presidential election. But there is little doubt about the end result: “Beaucaire was once a communist but long ago moved to the extreme right. » The Zemmour effect? ” Invisible ! does he think. Here, there is only the mayor, he is everywhere. »
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