After voting massively for Marine Le Pen in the presidential election, the campaign is now faced with the dilemma of either repeating its vote of no confidence or supporting established candidates. This choice will have a significant impact on the final results at the national level.
During the April presidential elections, Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate, won against Emmanuel Macron in more French municipalities. Most of these towns are less than 1,000 people and are mainly located in rural areas. Andre Accary (ex-LR president, Saone-et-Loire), where the RN made a significant breakthrough in Bresse, is now "a vote of no confidence".
This result can be explained by a feeling that public services have been abandoned for too long. Although it may seem exaggerated at times, this feeling "admits" the chosen one. This feeling of abandonment was also the driving force behind the "yellow vests movement" in 2018.
Andre Villiers, the outgoing deputy from a rural constituency in Yonne who is running under Horizons (presidential majority), believes that the territories have sent "a very powerful message". They told us to "don't forget about us!" "We don't have a doctor or a veterinarian anymore, our internet is not satisfactory, our roads and hospitals are sometimes threatened, etc.," he explains, listing a long list grievances from rural regions, which make up a third of France's population and 88% the country's territory.
These complaints are augmented by the declining purchasing power due to the rising prices of gasoline, which "has had a significant effect on the budget of working households", explains Dominique Dhumeaux (Vice-President of the Association of mayors rural de France) who was elected from La Ferce sur-Sarthe, an 800-person village where Marine Le Pen won 60% of the votes at the second round of face-to-face meetings. "It's been a good 15 elections that citizens have alerted through their ballot," recalls Dominique Dhumeaux, vice-president of the Association of mayors rural de France (AMRF). He acknowledges having participated in each round of the counting of "the ball in his stomach".
Rurality will repeat the same message in the legislative elections on June 12 and 19. It is doubtful, as the elections are different.
"There was an important warning. But those who voted RN during this presidential election will vote again for him provided he is established" Jean Hingray, young senator LR from the Vosges, assures Jean Hingray. This is a department where rurality played a role in Marine Le Pen's rise to power.
Didier Humbert (mayor of Martigny-les-Bains), who strongly supported the RN candidate (68.5%), agrees. "During the legislative election, people vote specifically for people," he explains. Jean-Claude Scoupe (vice-president of the Community of communes of the Paysfort Sancerrois), where the RN largely won in April in more than a dozen municipalities, is also in Cher. He believes that the outgoing deputies are "very involved in the ground".
However, he acknowledges that he would like to believe that the message from the presidential election was heard. But there should be tangible signs for the rural population.
Dominique Dhumeaux says, "People vote extreme in order to signify their incomprehension." It is quite normal for people to use their ballots in democracy to express discontent. This makes me sad but they can't be blamed.