A new duel between Laurent Hénart, outgoing mayor, and Mathieu Klein, president of the Departmental Council, is on the horizon, tied in a recent poll. Laurent Watrin’s Greens (12%) will therefore tip the balance. On which side?
Nancy, with 104,000 inhabitants, is at the heart of the Greater Nancy Metropolis made up of 20 municipalities and 435,000 inhabitants. Here, as elsewhere, the municipal elections of 15 and 22 March will be played out on both economic issues (there are 23,000 SME-SMIs in the agglomeration) and environmental issues (mobility, with the tram, traffic, parking and cycle paths in the city centre) without neglecting the more or less perverse little games of politics that spice up the election campaigns.
The strong man of Nancy, for 37 years, was André Rossinot. A former Member of Parliament, a former minister, a former president of the Radical Party (Valoisien), he was mayor from 1983 to 2014, when he was elected president of the Metropolis of Grand-Nancy. But at the age of 80, “Dédé” is passing the baton. The post of President of the Metropolis is thus one of the major issues at stake in these elections.
In Nancy, the outgoing mayor is Laurent Hénart, 51 years old. Elected town councillor in 1995 on the Rossinot list, he became deputy in 2001. He was elected deputy (UMP) in 2002, Secretary of State in 2004-2005 of the Raffarin government. In 2006, Hénart became president of the Radical Party, then ten years later he pleaded for the reunification of the Radical Party (Valoisien) and the Radical Left Party (PRG). He will become president of the new Radical movement. Laurent Hénart was elected mayor of Nancy in 2014 and vice-president of Metropolitan France. He is supported by the presidential parties La République en Marche and Les Républicains.
Opposite him is Mathieu Klein, 44, President of the Departmental Council of Meurthe-et-Moselle since 2014. A member of the Socialist Party since 1992, he was elected General Councillor of Meurthe-et-Moselle in 2004 and re-elected in 2011. In the meantime, he was an unfortunate candidate (49.2%) in the 2007 legislative elections against Laurent Hénart. In 2014, he reunited with Laurent Hénart at the municipal elections of Nancy and still has to lose 47.09 against 52.91.
But, following the accidental death of Michel Dinet, on April 22, 2014 Mathieu Klein was elected president of the departmental assembly and re-elected on April 2, 2015. He was then one of the youngest presidents of the Departmental Council and the only one to be openly homosexual. In October 2018, Mathieu Klein will refuse a ministerial post in Edouard Philippe’s government. He is supported by the PS and the PCF.
Laurent Watrin, EELV
An Ipsos Sopra Steria poll carried out for our colleagues in the Est Républicain and France Bleu from 30 January to 4 February 2020 gave the two Hénart/Klein candidates a tie in the first round on 15 March, with 34% of voting intentions for both.
It is interesting to note that the third best placed candidate in this consultation, Laurent Watrin for the Europe Ecologie Les Verts list, collects 12% of voting intentions. He is followed by Grégoire Eury of the Rassemblement National (6%) Nordine Jouira de la France Insoumise (5%), Patricia Melet, Debout la France (4%), Françoise Hervé, sans étiquette (4%), Christiane Nimsgern of Lutte Ouvrière (1%) and Jason Vanoni of the UPR (1%).
The polls are sometimes wrong. But if this “image” of the political forces present is correct, it is clear that Watrin’s ecologists will place themselves as referee between Hénart and Klein and that all the other candidates will be eliminated on the evening of the first round.
The political games
Beyond the vote of the voters, there are device intrigues. Since the Yellow Vests movement, but especially since the almost unanimous rejection of the pension reform, La République en Marche is no longer in the scent of holiness. The LREM nomination has become an electoral burden.
Bad point for Laurent Hénart. The presidential party still represented, in Nancy, 28.27% in the 2019 European elections and the Greens 17.88%. Marine Le Pen’s party took nearly 12% when the Socialist Party and Les Républicain were around 9%.
Today, the situation has changed. How will the macronist electorate break down? It is a first unknown in the elections of 15 and 22 March.
Another unknown is the postponement of the environmentalist votes. The EELV is more of a left-wing movement. But it will make the difference. If Watrin maintains the triangular hypothesis, he favours Hénart. If he withdraws, he favours Klein.
However, things are not that simple. Mathieu Klein, who declined the nomination of the Socialist Party while accepting its support, appears as the eternal challenger of Laurent Hénart. Will he still be the Poulidor of politics? It’s possible because the right and the centre remain well rooted in the City of Stanislas.
The backstage remains. The support given by André Rossinot to the outgoing mayor, in return, it is said, of the post of President of the Metropolis to his son-in-law, François Werner, mayor of Villers-lès-Nancy, could tip the balance.
Networks and lobbies, which are very influential in Nancy, should not be neglected even if it is difficult to measure their impact at the ballot box.
We’ve already written it down: In Nancy as elsewhere, the municipal campaign will be played less on political labels, which no longer mean much, than on local and concrete issues, which take into account the life and well-being of the inhabitants. Back to proximity.
Will the future tram be an infamous bastringue identical to the one in 2002? Will the entrances to the city still be thrombosed at rush hour? What place will be given to bicycles? Pedestrians? How can we take into account the peace and quiet of the people of Nancy in the evening, when the outside terraces are in bloom? When the cars rush through the small streets? When the night beauties hover around the station and throw condoms in the gardens? When it becomes difficult to sleep in this ambient brothel?
The next mayor will be the one to provide answers to these very local questions. With one month to go before the election, the game remains open.