Intense tan contrasting with a white shirt, Eric Zemmour roams the Saint-Tropez market in a constituency where he has a hard time dealing with the outgoing MP from the Macron camp and a far-right rival supported by Marine Le Pen.
“Come quickly quickly, you are our savior!”: the boss of the Reconquest movement!, dryly beaten in the presidential election with 7.07% of the votes, drinks like whey the praises of Rose Brocca, in his fifties, a clothing saleswoman on the Lices market in this popular seaside resort for the jet-set in summer.
“He has to come because it’s going very, very badly,” adds Rose aside, without wanting to detail what worries her so much. “So that France becomes French again, that we rediscover a little of our childhood”, launches Lisa Trimboli, who works alongside him, attracted by the anti-immigration discourse of the polemicist.
“Zemmour, it’s not my edge”, slice on another stand Paola, a shopkeeper from Portuguese immigration who prefers to keep her name silent.
On this hot spring day, in the midst of the already numerous tourists, the ex-journalist sentenced for incitement to hatred and racial slur, ends his stroll between the sellers of olives or charcuterie, hand in hand with his partner Sarah Knafo.
Also at his side, his deputy Marc-Etienne Lansade, mayor of Cogolin and former member of the National Rally (RN). Because here, as in many constituencies in France, the far right is torn between the supporters of Marine Le Pen, who obtained 55.1% in the Var, and those of Reconquête!.
“Zemmour is not God”, launched at the end of May Jordan Bardella, acting president of the RN, while Marion Maréchal accused the RN of deliberately campaigning against Reconquest candidates!.
Installed on the terrace of the Café des arts, in a city which gave him 22.4% of the presidential vote, Eric Zemmour prefers to present himself as “the one who can bring together all the rights and all the right-wing people”.
“I’m not far-right, he told AFP. In truth, I’m the only right-wing candidate.”
With an economy driven by both tourism and viticulture and an unemployment rate in the department of 7.5% at the end of 2021, almost identical to the national average (7.4%), this district offers a contrasting situation, between the posh seaside resorts of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and the less populated hinterland that feels more relegated.
“It’s a small summary of France”, analyzes Eric Zemmour. Many more modest people work on the Côte d’Azur “open to international globalized tourism and to the very, very rich”, he continues.
But these people from the hinterland often do not have the means to stay on the Coast, underlines the outgoing deputy La République en Marche, Sereine Mauborgne who is representing herself.
It was precisely 55 km from the beaches, in the village of Lorgues, that she surveyed a market on the same day to meet traders whom she “helped during the Covid”.
The Sarthoise by birth who arrived in the region for professional reasons, won in 2017 in the second round with 54.66% of the vote against the candidate of Marine Le Pen’s party.
Liberal nurse, Ms. Mauborgne judges that “the priorities, as in all the constituencies of France today, are health, — at a time when 120 emergency services are forced to limit their activity in France — purchasing power and above all listening to citizens”.
Zemmour’s arrival? “I have seven competitors, which is actually quite few compared to the last time when we were seventeen. The main thing is to get your messages across and to continue on my axis, proximity”, adds this 50-year-old with piercing blue eyes, who made a name for herself in January 2020 by opposing in the Assembly the extension of leave in the event of the death of a child.
“It’s a shame, ton Francisque, a trader from the Saint-Tropez market, who wants to remain discreet about his name but claims to vote Zemmour.
Will the 2nd round offer a bonus to the outgoing or can Eric Zemmour federate on the right? “I am calm and attentive, replies Ms. Mauborgne, we will see in two weeks. The suspense is not very long now”.
02/06/2022 18:56:02 – Saint-Tropez (France) (AFP) – © 2022 AFP