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Eric Ciotti loses the nomination but wins the battle of ideas

He comes second, with 39.05% of the vote, against 60.95% for Valérie Pécresse. But for Eric Ciotti, eliminated in the final of the nomination contest for the Republicans (LR) party, nothing will be the same. Arrived first Thursday, December 2, with 25.59% of the vote, the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes – very popular in the powerful federation of his department, the largest of the party, with 10,100 members – created a surprise in this campaign, where no one expected. His score in the first round, along with the first place, changed the dimension of the elected from the South, always remained in the shadow of the leaders of the right, and consolidates his position within the movement.

Read also Congress of Republicans live: Valérie Pécresse will be LR’s candidate for the 2022 presidential election

While he declared himself a candidate for a possible right-wing primary in August, Eric Ciotti said he was coming « Bring your right grain of salt » in debates. Without the slightest hope of victory, he thought above all to defend his ideas, influence the upcoming presidential campaign, and preempt the interior ministry he dreams of, in the event of the LR candidate winning. He hoped, moreover, that this « Miniature presidential campaign », which allowed him to cover all subjects, helps him to peel off the label of « Mr. Security » from the right, which has always stuck to his skin. « I take great pleasure in this campaign, in which I can defend my values ​​without referring to others », he confided then, before starting to believe it.

« I hold a line »

In the absence of the former party boss Laurent Wauquiez and the boss of LR senators, Bruno Retailleau, who both gave up being candidates, the former collaborator and « gun carrier » of the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, had free rein in this congress, the only representative of the right wing. Its uninhibited positioning,  » without taboo « , like his unwavering loyalty to his political family, won over LR activists throughout a campaign focused on security, immigration and identity, themes at the heart of his political identity.

Over the televised debates, where he showed himself at ease and pugnacious, Eric Ciotti therefore played on velvet, unrolling arguments that have been honed for years. The southern radical, who stirs the specter of a « War of civilizations » and speaks candidly of the xenophobic and conspiratorial theory of the « great replacement », defended the « National preference » on employment and housing, the return to blood rights, and the registration of « Judeo-Christian origins » of France in the Constitution. He multiplied the shock formulas, pronouncing himself for a « French Guantanamo » or one « Whatever the cost safe ». « I hold a line, he explained to World. Even if many, on the right, are now approaching it. But for me, it’s an original line. It therefore appears to be more sincere in the eyes of activists. « 

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