It took a miner’s son, a long-time communist elected from the mining area, supported by the united left, to regain a seat as a deputy in the National Rally. A unique case in France, in Pas-de-Calais, which has nevertheless become the stronghold of the far-right party.
Marine Le Pen’s party now has six elected members out of the 12 constituencies in the department, one more than in 2017. And there are 20 in total in Hauts-de-France, compared to 6 during the previous term.
But in the third constituency of Pas-de-Calais, in the heart of the mining basin, a man managed to break this dynamic in the face of a young RN: Jean-Marc Tellier, 52, elected municipal official for a quarter of a century and mayor of Plane (near Lens) since 2009.
Recipe ? “A local campaign, on the ground”, advances this former head of the Pioneers of France, a youth movement linked to the PCF, who receives in jeans and a T-shirt in an office without frills.
Mr. Tellier benefited during his campaign from the active support of 12 of the 13 mayors in his constituency, all on the left, and from the mobilization capacity of a partisan apparatus still in place.
Fabien Roussel, communist presidential candidate and deputy from a neighboring constituency, also made the trip.
The other national figures, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of Nupes, the united left, were on the other hand left in the background, in order to first capitalize on local anchoring.
In the pretty streets of his town, marked by its charcoal past, many residents recognize Mr. Tellier’s “active” and “very available” side.
Fabienne Vendin, worker in the food industry, had voted Marine Le Pen for the presidency. But he, she is “happy that he is elected”.
“From what I’ve heard, he’s a great gentleman, who does everything he can, especially for young people,” she explains.
Long on the left, the constituency had swung to the FN in 2017 with the election of José Evrard, former local permanent of the Communist Party, later rallied to the far right, who has since died.
Mr. Tellier had been eliminated in the first round, pushing socialists and communists to come together in the sector. With success: they had managed to roll back the RN to the cantonal elections of 2021.
Further reinforced this year by the dynamics of Nupes, Mr. Tellier won this time, by 74 votes, against a much less established RN candidate, Bruno Clavet, 33, from the south, who arrived in the region. three years ago as an employee of one of the first Frontist town halls, Hénin-Beaumont.
Because if Marine Le Pen gathered 43% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election in this constituency, the local anchoring of the RN remains weak. The party had thus not presented a list to the municipal elections in Avion.
“It’s a sham victory,” said a centrist actor in local politics, for whom the local presence of the left, which weighed heavily during the election, is not eternal.
The arrival of 89 RN deputies in Parliament leads to the recruitment of 250 parliamentary assistants who will become “trained and available executives to conquer town halls and cantons”, he warns.
The left, swept away in 2017 by the Macron wave, regained a foothold in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, but it also lost several duels against the RN, such as the communist Alain Bruneel, who lost his seat in the 20th North.
“Will it be possible to reproduce this dynamic (of the 3rd district, editor’s note), or is this one of the last gasps of the left?” Asks Pierre Wadlow, doctoral student in political science at the University of Lille. .
For this specialist in the politicization of the working classes of the mining basin, the decline of the RN will constitute “a long-term job”.
“We have created hope and we now have a great responsibility”, recognizes the new communist deputy.
25/06/2022 08:17:53 – Plane (France) (AFP) – © 2022 AFP