One of them refuses the socialist nomination, Mathieu Klein. The other one is Laurent Hénart, who is proud of the support of the Marcheurs. Both of them are doing something stupid. Here’s why.
November 24, 2019 – 19:15 by Emilien Lacombe
Two local political barons will compete in the municipal elections of 15 and 22 March 2020 in Nancy: Laurent Hénart, 51 years old, mayor of Nancy since 2014, president of the Radical movement. And his challenger Mathieu Klein, 43 years old, president of the Meurthe-et-Moselle County Council since 2014, member of the Socialist Party since 1992. The latter officially declared himself a candidate on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
The two men know each other well. They clashed for the first time in 2007. It was in the legislative elections in the first riding of Meurthe-et-Moselle. Hénart wore the colours of the UMP, Klein those of the Socialist Party. The score was tight in the second round: 50.8% for Hénart; 49.2% for Klein.
Second confrontation in 2014, for the municipal authorities. Laurent Hénart draws the list Aimer Nancy which wants to be a union of the right. Mathieu Klein has taken the lead on the list A Better City, which includes the union of the left.
Mathieu Klein suffered from a slight lack of notoriety. And the socialist label, at that time, is not flattering. With Holland at the Elysée and Valls at Matignon, the socialists have bad press.
The result is not surprising. Klein was behind in the first round: 40.47% for Hénart against 35.75% for Klein. In the second round Hénart won with 52.01% against 47.08%.
Ironically, a survey had predicted exactly the opposite.
The European of 2019
But that was in 2014. Since then, the world has changed. The Marcheurs took power at the Elysée with Emmanuel Macron in 2017. The right and left, as we knew them then, were shattered. The yellow vests have entered the dance and intend to influence the vote. There are 9 million poor people in France (INSEE) and each of them has a ballot paper.
This new political situation was expressed in the elections to the European Parliament in 2019. The results on Nancy were as follows: The Marching Republic and Modem: 28.27%, Europe Ecologie Les Verts: 17.88%, the National Rally: 11.85%, the Socialist Party: 9.11%, the Republicans: 8.95%, France Insoumise: 8.95%.
In other words, in the light of these electoral results, the Macronist anointing appears to be an excellent springboard, while the socialist label seems to have become an electoral repeller.
Equation with several unknowns
Is it because of the poor image of the Socialist Party in the opinion that Mathieu Klein declined the PS nomination? Is it because of LREM’s results in Europe that Laurent Hénart hopes to win?
Probably. But the equation is more complicated. First, because the Walkers are no longer on the rise as they were a few months ago. The LREM nomination is no longer a guarantee of electoral success, far from it. Worse: it could well become, over the months, a burden for the president of the Radical Movement.
Secondly, because Mathieu Klein is also macron-compatible. As proof, he was approached in 2018, to join Edouard Philippe’s government.
Mathieu Klein will find it difficult to make people forget that he has been a socialist since 1992 and that he was a member of the PS’s national board in 2008. Denying your political family is often counterproductive.
There are still others unknown. The other political parties probably do not want to play on the sidelines. As for André Rossinot, a heavyweight in politics, will he help or… give his former protégé a hand? Finally, what will be the attitude of ecologists? Frédéric Maguin declared himself a candidate for mayor of Nancy very early on. Frédéric Maguin is an EELV departmental advisor within Mathieu Klein’s majority. Can it create the surprise of a pre-run election? As we have seen, the ecologists are now the second largest political force behind the Walkers.
That’s why everyone says they’re green.
Tram, bike, sleep
In Nancy, as elsewhere, the municipal campaign will be less about political labels, which no longer mean much, than about local and concrete issues, which take into account the life and well-being of the inhabitants. Back to the proximity.
Will the future tram be an infamous bastringue identical to the one of 2002? Will city entrances always be thrombosed during rush hour? What place will be given to bicycles? To pedestrians? How can we take into account the peace and quiet of the people of Nancy, when the evening comes, when the outdoor terraces bloom? When cars crash into small streets? When the nightgirls lurk around the station and throw condoms in the gardens? When it gets difficult to sleep in this ambient mess?
The next mayor will be the one who will provide answers to these very local questions. And a few others. An Ifop poll shows Mathieu Klein winning in the second round with EELV winning 53% of the vote. But it’s just a survey.
With four months to go before the election, the game remains open.