Senator François Grosdidier (LR) has been announced by pollsters as the certain successor to Dominique Gros (PS) at Metz City Hall. Are the games already over? Not so fast…
Metz, a garden city of 116,500 inhabitants, is at the heart of an agglomeration of 44 municipalities with 222,000 inhabitants. While it is true that Metz-Métropole is presided over by a right-wing elected representative, Jean-Luc Bohl (UDI), mayor of Montigny-lès-Metz and first vice-president of the Regional Council of the Grand Est, the city of Metz has been led for twelve years by a socialist, Dominique Gros, who is not standing for re-election.
Hence the appetites of both sides. Twelve lists are on the starting line. But only four seem to stand out in this electoral competition, according to a recent IFOP-Fiducial poll for the Republican Lorrain and Mirabelle TV.
Troublemaker of politics
This poll places the right-wing candidate, François Grosdidier, 59, Senator Les Républicains, well ahead of the voting intentions (29%) on 15 March. Former mayor of Woippy for more than 16 years, former UMP deputy, former departmental councillor, François Grosdidier is a troublemaker in political life. One remembers some of the controversies he stirred up. But it is above all in the judicial field that François Grosdidier distinguished himself. Convicted in 2015 in a dark case of misappropriation of public funds for illegally using a town hall official vehicle, then for complicity in illegally taking interests in the vote on subsidies, he was indicted in February 2019 for illegal taking of interests and misappropriation of public funds in a case of misuse of his parliamentary reserve. Finally, in November 2019, the Anticor association filed a complaint with a civil claim for damages in another case of misappropriation of public funds after the Audit Office pinpointed the management of the commune of Woippy. But the former mayor of Woippy is obviously presumed innocent.
His pursuer’s name is Xavier Bouvet. This 35-year-old young man is a newcomer to politics. We devoted an article to him last September. With 20% of the vote, Xavier Bouvet has managed to include the left-wing parties Unis pour Metz and Europe Ecologie Les Verts on his list. The renowned emergency doctor Raphaël Pitti has joined him. Xavier Bouvet also obtained the anointing of the outgoing mayor, for whom he worked at the town hall before taking over the management of the Inspire-Metz agency, chaired by Dominique Gros. He will leave the agency on August 30, 2019, following a conventional termination of contract entitling him to a small allowance (€2,500 gross) and unemployment. As a result, Xavier Bouvet has set up a small company via the ACRE (aid for business creation) scheme.
The former lawyer Daniel Delrez from Messin sees this “breach of contract” as an illegal acquisition of interest. He has filed a complaint. Against Bouvet but also against Dominique Gros. The public prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation.
A stinking ball in this campaign where the low blows have only just begun.
A slap in the face
In third place, Françoise Grolet (18%) tops the list at the National Gathering. This is a little less than in the 2019 European elections where the RN had obtained 20.08%. This means that Marine Le Pen’s party has a solid base in Metz which can play the troublemaker in the second round. Either by keeping itself within the framework of a triangular or even quadrangular, or by calling for a vote for one or other of the candidates in order to sow discord.
In fourth place, Richard Lioger. The deputy of the Republic in March was the favourite of this competition until a year ago. At the European elections, the Macronist Party came out on top in Metz with 24.75% of the votes. But the yellow jackets and the opponents of the pension reform went through the same thing. The macronists are massively rejected by the French. Lioger was the main culprit, accounting for only 11% of the voting intentions. A slap in the face.
The other eight candidates are confined to figuring, again according to the same survey. Thomas Scuderi (local PS) 6%, Jean-Hugues Nyalendo (La France Insoumise) 4%, Béatrice Agamennone (Various Centre) 3%, Jérémy Aldrin (Action) 3%, Emmanuel Lebeau (Various Right) 2%, Christiane Pallez (Various Left) 2%, Mario Rinaldi (Lutte Ouvrière) 1%, Christian Bemer (Various Right) 1%.
If this poll is true, everything will be decided in the second round. François Grosdidier is the winner with 36% of the voting intentions in the hypothesis of a quadrangular Grosdidier/Bouvet/Grolet/Lioger. He is credited with a score of 41% in the event of a Grosdidier/Bouvet/Grolet triangular.
But these are purely arithmetic deductions from a fixed image of the electorate. For the carry-over of the votes of Richard Lioger and all the small candidates represents more than 20% of the votes. And no one, at this hour, can prejudge their carry-over to one or other of the candidates. There are four weeks left in the campaign. And while it is true that François Grosdidier is racing ahead, his challenger has not said his last word.