The leaders of LR will be able to breathe a small sigh of relief at the national council meeting this Saturday in Lyon. The party of Laurent Wauquiez who apprehended, a few weeks ago still, the competition of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and his training Debout the Republic, is partly reassured by his choice to lead the battle of the Europeans with François-Xavier Bellamy. "We widened the gap. Now you have to keep it at bay, " rejoices the deputy of Ain, Damien Abad. Vice-president of the right-wing party, he hosted this Friday on his lands François-Xavier Bellamy and his running mate Arnaud Danjean. At the beginning of the year, opinion polls credited Dupont-Aignan with 7% of voting intentions, while LR, before Bellamy's appointment, was unable to break the 8% mark. What to do chick for executives Republicans who want to be the only credible and responsible alternative to the government of Emmanuel Macron. But a recent Ifop poll published by Paris Match crediting 13% of the voting intentions the list led by Bellamy gave them a balm to the heart.

Rue de Vaugirard, everyone wants to see a Bellamy effect. "With this head of the list we really managed to trigger a dynamic. It is true that a few weeks ago the concern about Nicolas Dupont-Aignant was very real. This is no longer the case today", continues Damien Abad. "This question does not even arise today," slice Bruno Retailleau, the president of the LR group in the Senate for whom "The dynamism of our leading trio has broken that of the leader of Debout la République. Today he can no longer differentiate from the speech of Marine Le Pen. He sails in the same waters of a soft Frexit while we, we managed to reconnect with our conservative electorate ", unfolds the senator of Vendée who measures well on its territory the fears that can inspire the prospects of a exit of the European Union.

No more "bidding" and "demagoguery"

"On Europe, we must be the party of reason not that of the bidding or the demagogy. Others know how to do it better than us ", notes the one who supported the candidacy of François Fillon to the primaries of the right and the last presidential election. For Bruno Retailleau, "François-Xavier Bellamy is very much in this direction. It gives meaning and goes to the bottom of things. Above all he has convictions and has a new way of Europe ". Especially Laurent Wauquiez, who had committed some writings betraying more than euroscepticism, had to return to his positions so as not to alienate the fringe of pro-Europeans. It is no longer a question of this Europe of concentric circles long defended by the president of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. "I always said my disagreement with Laurent Wauquiez on this idea of ​​a Europe consisting of a first, second and third circles. it only reinforced the idea of ​​European federalism ", explains Bruno Retailleau.

The meeting of the national council, the internal parliament of the party, marks the launch of the European campaign of LR. This body must also approve the budget that will be devoted to this electoral battle, validate the composition of the list and finally vote on the European project of the party of the rue de Vaugirard. Internally, the detractors of Laurent Wauquiez relied on this meeting to point the euroscepticism of their leader and make the voice of the opponents heard, taking advantage of the bad situation of the right given elbow in the latest polls with the sovereignist party of Dupont-Aignan. The little improvement that LR knows cuts the grass under their feet. Especially the draft LR for Europe outlined in a previous national council in Menton last June, should not rush anyone in stretchers.

"Europe of protection"

In its campaign, LR intends to carry two strong ideas. First, that of a "Europe of protection" facing the migration and economic crisis and is able to preserve its jobs. This goes for the right-wing party with respect and boundaries both within Europe and around it. Finally LR also wants to defend the idea of ​​a Europe of "Reinforced cooperation" in the field of advanced technologies, scientific and medical research or in the field of major infrastructure works. "Europe is a project of civilization, a story and an impetus" that the head of the list LR intends to defend, as he recalled during his meeting in Paris Wednesday evening, against the supporters of federalism and those who want to deconstruct Europe.

Christophe Forcari

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