The Battle For Nice
The previous post alluded to a Figaro article about the battle that will take place in Nice between Eric Ciotti, Sarkozy's candidate, and Jérôme Rivière, the current deputy banned from the UMP ticket and running as an unaffiliated candidate of the Presidential Majority. At stake is a seat in the National Assembly.
The following are excerpts from the article:
It is a voting district for Political Science teachers. A laboratory, a test case... A voting district that contains the Old City where posh neighborhoods exist side by side with subsidized projects, where the Communist Party reigned for decades supported by the dock workers and the workers in the tobacco industry, where Jean-Marie Le Pen won about 30% of the vote in 2002. How could Nicolas Sarkozy garner 39% of the votes in the first round and 63% in the second round? The hold-up of the century, an earthquake, a tsunami that carried away everything. Nothing here will ever be as it was.
For once, this phrase heard so often in politics has a meaning. The legislative elections have been turned upside down. Jérôme Rivière, the incumbent deputy, has been removed by the officials of the UMP party. His crime? He was head of Philippe de Villiers' election committee. He never hesitated to denigrate candidate Sarkozy, who for him, symbolized the "soft Right". But after all, from the other side of the political spectrum, that did not prevent Bernard Kouchner from becoming one of President Sarkozy's ministers.
Many members of UMP reproach Rivière for his marginal behavior, for not having paid his party dues, and for having "betrayed everyone" ever since he entered politics 20 years ago. (...)
It will be a merciless war between the two candidates... Each one calls the other a pawn. Rivière speaks of his accomplishments as deputy, Ciotti proudly displays his grandfather's hardware sign from years ago in Old Nice. Rivière sounds the charge: "He will be the voice of Paris in Nice; I am the voice of Nice in Paris." (...)
In truth, Rivière did not expect this setback. He had hoped that Villiers, who rallied to Sarkozy after the presidential election, would ask the President to "pardon" him. But Villiers dropped him. For Ciotti, the surprise is just as great; three days before his designation, he did not know he would be candidate. The electoral baptism by fire is always difficult. (...)
Note: Neither man should have been all that surprised. The removal of Rivière's name from the ballot in favor of Ciotti's goes back to last October.
The article concludes with a description of the way Sarkozy's sudden and overwhelming power in the region has just about destroyed the hopes of the Left in this 1st voting district of Nice. In addition, the collapse of the Front National made things worse for the Left, since it was always able to count on several Right-wing parties splitting the conservative votes. Now it's all Sarkozy. The article speaks of a "Sarkozy hurricane" and of the "magic of the Sarkozy name."
This article was posted at Jérôme Rivière's website, proving at least his willingness to deal with what the MSM say about him. Its author, Eric Zemmour, made some implicit accusations of betrayal on the part of PDV. Here are some readers' comments:
- Mr. Rivière, Eric Zemmour claims that you have been abandoned by PDV.... Maybe you had differences on how the campaign should be run but it seems to me that no MPF candidate is running in your district. Furthermore, I really don't see what influence PDV could have in the UMP... So... What is Zemmour trying to say? (...) Does he know something we don't? Thanks for lighting my modest lamp...
- I don't believe that PDV committed an act of betrayal. Those who already voted for Jérôme Rivière should do so again and thus show their disapproval of the way their deputy has been treated.
- How can you claim to wear the "Sarkozy" label when you fought against him so actively during the presidential campaign? What is the balance-sheet of the incumbent deputy? Nothing!
It could be that both men are (for the moment) placing their hopes on some kind of electoral success within the framework of Sarkozy's rather large and winning movement. Possibly they hope to remain gadflies, of sorts, opposing the President on many of his policies, and weakening the Sarkozy effect.
The maps, from the National Assembly website, show the department of Alpes-Maritime (to the left) and of Nice and its three voting districts (to the right). At issue is the first voting district.