Bid to unite the right against Macron hits the rocks

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Turmoil among Les Républicains

When it comes to the center right, Ciotti is coming under a massive attack from his own party. Many in Les Républicains, which dominated the French right for decades with presidents including Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, have voiced their horror at his suggested deal with the far right.

“I will never accept any compromise with the extremes, which I am convinced will lead France to bankruptcy and chaos,” the party’s 2022 presidential candidate and president of the Paris region Valérie Pécresse said.

“We know that Eric Ciotti would have not have crossed the channel in 1940,” Julien Dive, a Les Républicains lawmaker and the party’s vice president wrote on X, referring to Charles de Gaulle’s move to the U.K. to lead French resistance against the Nazis during World War II.

Former EU Commissioner and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, said Ciotti had “lost the legitimacy” to speak for the party.

Two senators for Les Républicains, Sophie Primas and Jean-François Husson, announced Tuesday that they were leaving the party in protest over the proposed tie-up.

“An alliance with the RN in the legislative elections is of course without me! I am leaving Les Républicains,” Husson wrote, while Primas said she would “reluctantly, and after years [in the party]” do the same.

National Rally is the dominant force on the French right. Reconquest represents some 5 percent of the electorate, while the much diminished Les Républicains could bring about 7 percent of voters.


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