SNettle weakened and divided from the conflict over pensions, the Republican right is trying to rebuild its unity around the migration issue. Flanked by the two group presidents, Bruno Retailleau (in the Senate) and Olivier Marleix (in the National embly), the president of the Les Républicains (LR) party, Eric Ciotti, featured in The Sunday newspaper May 21 two bills supposed to summarize the new doctrine of the party. If the stated goal is not to impose zero immigration, the turn of the screw advocated is no less spectacular. It goes through a constitutional revision aimed at allowing a referendum to be held on migration policy, at derogating from the primacy of treaties and European law when “the fundamental interests of the Nation” are at stake or to elevate the principle of imilation to constitutional status. The two texts will be deposited this week on the office of the emblies and will be used as banner with the party to refuse to vote any text which would not answer these requirements.
This is the first time that the Republican right has so openly broken with its European affiliation, while France is a founding member of the European Union. Never until now has a government party dared to free itself from the treaties, even if the tone of the presidential campaign led by François Fillon in 2017 and Valérie Pécresse in 2022 had paved the way for such an evolution. Making the question of immigration a point of fixation, the two candidates had begun to make Europe the scapegoat of an alleged French inability to control migratory flows. The right now wants to draw inspiration from Denmark which, since its rebellion against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, has had an opt-out option which allows it to exempt itself from part of European law.
A skin-less electorate
LR’s offensive is all the more worrying as it is part of a challenge to the rule of law, presented as a brake on popular will. In a long interview with Point dated May 11Laurent Wauquiez, who is a putative right-wing candidate for the 2027 presidential election, castigates the ” Rebellion “ that the supreme courts would have, according to him, fomented in the 1970s and 1980s to dispossess elected officials of their power to legislate. In particular, it calls into question the normative power of the Court of Cation, the Council of State, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union, legitimizing the tendency towards illiberalism. which diverts part of the European right.
To justify its worrying doctrinal evolution, the Republican right invokes the very strong concern of the French in the face of migratory flows. A study conducted by IFOP-Fiducial to South Radio May 12 shows, however, that the fight against illegal immigration only ranks twelfth among their concerns, far behind health, inflation, purchasing power or even education.
Shrunk on a thin electorate, unable since the re-election of Emmanuel Macron to reinvent itself, LR is in reality a prisoner of its old demons. He now sees no possibility of survival except in an alliance of the rights of which he is all but certain to take the lead. The positioning that he endorses brings him closer to that of Eric Zemmour and looks like a copy-paste of Marine Le Pen’s project, which sees part of his theses endorsed and trivialized. If the Republican right does not quickly come to its senses, it will bear the responsibility of having served as a Trojan horse for the far right by making immigrants the scapegoats for their own impotence.