Narbonne. Second constituency: the contested presidential majority

the essential
The outgoing deputy Alain Perea (Ensemble! Renaissance) finds himself facing a split front of 13 candidates from which emerge Viviane Thivent (Nupes) and Frédéric Falcon (RN). With spoilsport, Jean-François Daraud (Reconquest), Quentin Estrade (the Centrists) and Edouard Rocher (PRG). Beware of the scattering of votes in a context of strong abstention. Answer on June 12.

In 2017, carried by the wave En Marche, Alain Perea, a former member of the Socialist Party, won the seat of deputy once occupied by Léon Blum, succeeding the socialist Marie-Hélène Fabre. The representatives of the traditional parties, Michel Py for the Republicans (15.94%) and Marie-Hélène Fabre for the PS (13.48%) had gone through losses and profits, victims of the recomposition of the political chessboard which had followed the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of the Republic. In the second round, it was Jean-François Daraud of the National Rally who had been qualified. Unsurprisingly, Alain Perea (58.46%), haloed by the attraction for the Jupiterian president, had taken the advantage over his opponent from the RN (41.54%). Five years later, he again solicited the votes of voters. But this time, he is advancing with a report, that of Emmanuel Macron and his successive governments, and some statements that have caused controversy (tweet on the ban on mountain biking during hunting). Enough to convince again or enough to be in danger? The yellow vests and the Covid crisis have also been there.

One thing is certain, in front of him, the local political landscape has changed. No candidate invested by Les Républicains but instead a young centrist, Quentin Estrade; no socialist candidate, of which this second constituency had been the natural habitat for decades, but an environmentalist candidate from the new popular ecological and social union (Nupes), the Narbonne opposition elected representative Viviane Thivent. On the other hand, ruling out a rapprochement with Nupes, a candidate of the Radical Left Party, Edouard Rocher, the mayor of Coursan, appeared, unlike five years ago. There is still the Narbonnais municipal councilor Jean-François Daraud on the far right, but he has changed his coat and now wears that of Reconquête by Eric Zemmour, while the National Rally presents a new face in the person of Frédéric Falcon, a militant virgin of any political experience. So much for the main headliners.

In ambush, a multitude of “small” candidates who hope to do well. Baptiste Vasseur from the young party of a former macronist, Education, Democracy and Dignity, ranked in the center left, Gérard Lenfant from the Resist movement! of Jean Lassalle, the lawyer Cyril Cambon for the animalist party, Francis Thomas of the Patriotes party of Florian Philipot, for the most prominent. Not to mention the famous “Miscellaneous” as defined by the ministry.

Each vote has its logic

A wide political offer which presents the risk of the scattering of votes for the favorites. In this context, what about the behavior of far-right voters? Reconquest with Jean-François Daraud will he nibble the electorate of the RN? Will he mobilize as in the presidential election after which he placed Marine Le Pen in the lead in this second constituency in the second round (55.63% against 44.37% for Macron )? What impact will the candidacies of Quentin Estrade (Les centristes) and Édouard Rocher (PRG) have as they “hunting” on the same lands as Alain Perea and Viviane Thivent? Difficult to make a prognosis. Because if the prediction in matters of election were as simple as an addition, Viviane Thivent (Nupes) would be assured of being in the second round when reading the results of the first round of the legislative elections five years ago (by cumulating the scores of the communists, ecologists, socialists and rebellious France, the union on the left would have made 30%) or when we trace the results of the last presidential election on this second constituency. Except that each ballot has its logic, especially when you change scale. With an assumed local anchorage, Alain Perea certainly has the advantage of one who plays at home within the presidential majority. But the games are not yet made to know who will go to the national assembly.

It remains to know the level of participation. For the legislative elections, it has been in constant decline in the second constituency since the 2000s (67.59%, 2002, 64.11% in 2007, 61.63% in 2012, 49.64% in 2017). This suggests that reaching 12.5% ​​of registered voters, and claiming to maintain it, will be difficult for the candidates and that consequently only the first two will be qualified for the second round.

This is the topic of the moment. Which goes beyond the borders of the second constituency but which no candidate can escape: purchasing power. Prices are skyrocketing and public authorities are called upon to provide concrete responses. During their campaign, the headliners of this second constituency have often addressed the issue. The outgoing deputy Alain Perea wonders about the increase in the “SMIC at €1,500 which will disadvantage those who have 10 years of career: we are entering an infernal spiral, how to finance this?” It is necessary, according to him, to fight for a better purchasing power, to work on the question of housing, to facilitate the renovation and the construction, to allow to work on wastelands, to refine the relations between agriculture and urbanization. So many elements that pass in the form of amendments in the finance law, such as the lifting of constraints weighing on the construction of social housing or, yet another idea: “ To help first-time buyers, notarial fees must be compensated by the State”.

Conversely Viviane Thivent, the candidate of the Union of the Left, proposes “to freeze the prices of basic necessities (petrol, food, energy) and sustainably regulate the prices of basic food products”. In addition, Nupes has included in its program “to raise the minimum wage to €1,500 net, to establish a dignity guarantee (€1,063 for a single person) which leaves no one below the poverty line”. This poverty line is a major concern here since according to INSEE figures, in 2019, 20.1% of the population of the second district of Aude has a standard of living below the poverty line, while this share rises 14.5% in mainland France. For Frédéric Falcon (RN), this purchasing power was “severely attacked after five years of Macron”. With this marker of the unemployment rate: it reaches 7.9% in the second district against 6.2% in France (INSEE 2018 figures). The issue of renewable energies with offshore wind turbines is also a strong theme in this territory. Reconciling environmental protection and economic activity such as agriculture is also a major concern. Just like the aging of the population and consequently access to care. The PRG candidate Edouard Rocher was not mistaken and made old age a focus of his campaign. And Quentin Estrade (Les Centristes) promises to work to bring health care offers closer to the population. In 2018 (INSEE figures), half of the population of the district is over 47 years old. At the national level, this median age is 41 years. 25% of the population is over 66 (60 nationally) and 55% of the population is over 47 (41 nationally).

The constituency in numbers

Registered : 92 254Inhabitants : 116 359Communes : 28Middle age : 45.3Active in employment : 33.4%Retired : 30.2%Median standard of living : €19,650Rate of poor households : 20.1%Share of second homes : 21.5%Jobseekers : 7.9%Socio-professional categories employees (32.5%), intermediate professions (24.5%), workers (21%), executives and higher intellectual professions (10%), tradesmen/entrepreneurs (9%), farmers/operators ( 1.5%). Source: INSEE 2018

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Narbonne. Second constituency: the contested presidential majority

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