🥊The Weekly Dispatch - Survival On All Fronts
04 December 2022 - Les Républicains fight for survival, the 2023 Social Security Budget is adopted, the Borne government is cleared by the HATVP, and 1000 new emergency accommodations in Paris.
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🥊Les Républicains fight for their survival
This week has been intense for Les Républicains and their militants, but today will be a defining moment for the party, with the election of their new president.
With three candidates representing three different wings of the Gaullist party, all candidates will be feeling the weight of the position that was held by leaders of the former UMP, such as Nicolas Sarkozy Jacques Chirac, François Fillon, and Alain Juppé.
Even Eric Ciotti, the presumed successor, has looked like he felt the weight of the situation in recent weeks, conscious of the effect that leading this part has had on others: he had front-row seats to the Laurent Wauquiez leadership that led to a post-2017 implosion in the European Parliament elections and having watched the Valérie Pécresse presidential campaign this year.
Annie Genevard, the Secretary-General of Les Républicains, made a point of underlining the importance of this election:
“For five years, some have been predicting certain death for us, Macron and the National Rally [RN] want to sell us to the cut, but we remain standing in the face of this existential question, it is our duty…because the day when the right is no longer there, there will only be extremes to ensure alternation and the whole political landscape will collapse.”
Fortunately for the party, they still have a strong base of militants, with 91,110 voting today in the first round of the election, with a possible second round taking place next weekend on either the 10th or 11th of December. But even they will be conscious of the shift that took place, with some decrying “a field of ruins” surrounding the party, side-lined by Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National as the leading opposition group.
Former LR deputy for Yonne, Guillaume Larrivé, underlined the identity crisis that the party faces:
“The right of 2016 was Alain Juppé, François Fillon and Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2022, where is the right? At Macron, at LR, with Edouard Philippe, with Gérald Darmanin, a bit with Eric Zemmour…The split is huge and it is a risk for future alternation since Macron will not stand again.”
So there is a clear risk for the party should the ‘wrong’ choice be made, and this will be on everyone’s mind here. Can the LR overcome their now long-term crisis, or will the party continue to fall and splinter?
On the other hand, this election is a huge opportunity for Renaissance, with Emmanuel Macron’s party poised to take advantage of the results of this election, with the likelihood of an Eric Ciotti victory potentially pushing traditional centre-right militants, MPs and MEPs to defect.
To achieve an absolute majority in the Assemblée Nationale, Renaissance would need to tease away thirty-eight of the LR’s sixty-two members. An improbable task, even if many are flirting with the idea and even if politicians like Renaud Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, defected this week.
However, even small movements can cause a snowball effect, and it should not be forgotten that many Républicains abandoned the party in 2017, with Juppeists like Edouard Philippe (Horizons) having abandoned the party due to its lurch further to the right, the appearance of a more moderate centrist party, and later on, due to the horror they felt watching the behaviour of hardliners like Laurent Wauquiez and Eric Ciotti.
Regardless, with Ciotti having engaged in his dédiabolisation since the LR presidential primaries, and with Wauquiez having used his time in the political wilderness to pretty up his image, the new LR could be a formidable force.
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📝The 2023 Social Security Budget has been adopted
The 2023 Social Security Budget was definitively adopted this week, with several big initiatives forming part of it. While I could go into exhaustive details in a future dispatch, here are the important parts:
Emergency contraception will be free for all women
Prevention consultations will be offered at important stages of life, such as
Sexually Transmitted Infection screening will be available without a prescription for everyone and will be free for those under 26
Pharmacists and nurses will be able to prescribe vaccines
The price of a pack of cigarettes will be increased from €10.15 to €11 in 2024
3,000 nurses and assistants will be recruited to reinforce retirement homes, the first stage of a plan for the recruitment of 50,000 additional staff by 2027
The residency for General Practitioners has been extended by 1 year to reinforce their preparations
Single-parent families will receive financial assistance will now last until said children enter college
One big thing to note is that, after the colossal deficit of €39 billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this deficit was reduced to less than €25 billion in 2021, and this year they’re expected to sit at around €17.8 - 18.9 billion.
✅Borne government cleared by the HATVP
Following the sudden resignation of Caroline Cayeux, the Minister for Territorial Communities, due to the possibility of tax evasion as well as a potential improper declaration of her personal assets, there were some fears that the Borne government would be hit by new declarations of improper conduct from the High Authority for the transparency of public life (HATVP).
However, it seems that the other 41 members of the Elisabeth Borne government have been given the green light, with the head of the institution, Didier Migaud, announcing that he was satisfied with the timely filing of their statements and the speed of their reactions.
While some attempted to attack the government ministers for the fact that 32 out of the 41 were required to submit “substantial modifications” from their previous declarations this summer, it was highlighted by the HATVP that this was in line with other governments and that these were mainly related to either some missing information or, in some cases, an excess of information provided.
🏠1000 new emergency accommodations in Paris
Some positive news came out of the capital this week, with the Paris town hall announcing that it was looking to find 1,000 additional emergency accommodation places by springtime to combat ongoing social and humanitarian crises.
Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, spoke to the press week during a visit to an existing emergency accommodation centre, and talked about how the “situation is dramatic [in Paris]” and added that there was a “very significant increase in the number of people on the street”.
Paris already has 6,300 emergency accommodation places, with the French state also offering 20,000 places and an additional 10,000 social hotels. With 600 new spaces already identified by Paris town hall, there are attempts to find the additional 400 required to make the 1,000 mark.
However, an essential part of governing the capital is showing that you’re not necessarily always taking orders from the acting government. In this frame, Hidalgo’s office has been pushing the state to mobilize additional sites to deal with the “daily flows” of migrants and to include these in the national distribution system.
With the constant presence of migrant camps in areas of the capital, Hidalgo is attempting to push for a resolution to this in order to boost her flagging political credentials and to see off a future challenge from one Rachida Dati, who she may not beat next time.
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