🔴 Valérie Pécresse won the second round of the Congress of Republicans on 4 December 2021. She obtained 60.95% of the vote Eric Ciotti who came out narrowly in the first round. Although only members of the Republicans party could take part in the vote, more than 100,000 voters took part in this election. The Republicans party will officially invest Valérie Pécresse on 11 December 2021 🔴

The primary of the conservative party (Les Républicains) is taking place from 1 to 4 December 2021, called “Republican Congress” (🔗 congrès des Républicains). The Republicans (LR) is the most established conservative party in France. Historically, it used to play a major role in French presidencies (as successor to UMP (Sarkozy) and UDF (Chirac, Giscard d’Estaing).
The 2017 French presidential campaign, however, weakened the party and its candidate then, François Fillon, came third in the first round. Moreover, the party is currently experiencing strong competition from far-right candidates (Marine Le Pen, Éric Zemmour, 🔗 see all candidates here). After looking at social media strategies in campaign time, let’s now see the presence of the candidates to the Congress of the Republicans on Twitter.

We use the Policy-Insider.AI platform to run the Twitter analytics. You can try it for free here.

Daily follower changes on Twitter for current candidates to the LR Primaries

A more restricted primary than in 2016

For the first time in 2016, Les Républicains, (LR), the Christian Democratic Party (PCD), and the National Centre of Independents and Peasants (CNIP) organized an open primary of the right and center, meaning that party membership was not required to vote.

Following a record turnout of more than 4.4 million voters, an unexpected candidate, François Fillon, won the 2016 primary. However, a series of politico-financial scandals discredited his candidacy, and he placed third in the first round of the presidential election later in 2017. For the first time since 1988, the main conservative party was not present in the second round.

As a side-note, Fillon is now facing legal charges for illegally employing his wife, a scandal that had come up shortly before the elections and that again regurgitates at a crucial campaign moment for the Republicans.

Once again, the Republicans have chosen to organize a primary given the many candidates in their camp. However, the primary is restricted to members of the Les Républicains party. For this, Xavier Bertrand who had left the party in 2017 and Valérie Pécresse in 2019, had to rejoin the party. This time also, only members of the Republican Party will be allowed to vote for one of the five candidates running.

Having opted to call these primaries “congress” underlines the consensual objective of these primaries, meaning not to divide the party in different groups but rather to work towards one clear leader to challenge Emmanuel Macron. Under the name of “Congress of the Republicans“, the primary of the right will take place online on 1 and 2 November 2021.

Five candidates nominated for the Congress of Republicans

Candidates had until November 4 to gather at least 250 signatures from elected Republicans and take part in the primary. Only Denis Payre, entrepreneur, did not succeed in obtaining a sufficient number of signatures. There are now five candidates running for the primary of the right:

  • Michel Barnier, former Brexit chief negotiator for the European Union.
  • Xavier Bertrand, currently president of the Hauts-de-France region.
  • Éric Ciotti, Member of the National Assembly for Alpes-Maritimes’s 1st constituency.
  • Philippe Juvin, French medical doctor, former MEP and LR mayor of La Garenne-Colombes.
  • Valérie Pécresse, currently president of the Île-de-France region.

Beyond asserting the LR’s program, the main challenge is also to take a firm stand on conservative positions. These are being challenged by candidates both on their left and right side:

  • the incumbent president, Emmanuel Macron unsurprisingly high in the polls,
  • Marine Le Pen, candidate of the National Rally, who reached the second round of the French presidential elections of 2017
  • and finally Eric Zemmour, a French political journalist and writer whose candidacy has been announced 30 November 2021.

🔗 See all declared and expected candidates to the French presidential election here.

The primary of the right in the political debate

Of the 20 hashtags most used in the last seven days by French politicians, seven were related to the Congress of Republicans. The hashtag #JeVoteBertrand (I vote for Bertrand) comes in the sixth position followed closely by #Barnier2022. The Congress of Republicans is therefore among the most burning topics of the French elected officials, without however replacing current affairs (#11Novembre, #COP26).

top hashtags used by the French politicians. Seven out of twenty are connected to the Congress of Republicans
The top hashtags used by the French politicians have been generated using Policy-Insider.AI (November 11-18, 2021)

Twitter trends of the candidates of the primary of the right

Will the primary of the right hold surprises like the previous one?

Very strong in the polls, Xavier Bertrand has only 23 rallying political figures to his candidacy against 60 for Michel Barnier and Valérie Pécresse. Although Michel Barnier enjoys strong support from LR politicians, he remains nevertheless little known to the French general public. In 2019, Valérie Pécresse left the Republicans party following a poor score in the European elections. Eric Ciotti, the only candidate currently serving as a member of Parliament, could create a surprise. Indeed, his speech focused on the theme of national identity pleases certain voter groups but creates controversy within his party. Finally, Philippe Juvin was very present in the media throughout the covid crisis as head of emergency services at the Pompidou hospital in Paris.

A focus on Eric Ciotti

Let’s take a look closer at Eric Ciotti‘s activity on Twitter which stands out among those of all the other French politicians currently elected.

During the last seven days, Éric Ciotti was the third among all the French politicians who have gained the most new followers. Moreover, he is the second most active on Twitter with 95 original tweets (not counting retweet) after Jean-Luc Mélenchon (145 original tweets).

French policymakers politician who won the most followers last 7 days in the context of the Congress of the Republicans.
French policymakers who won the most followers from 12-19 November 2021
Top of the 20 most used hashtags used by Eric Ciotti, candidate to the Congress of Republicans.
Top of the 20 most used hashtags used by Eric Ciotti (13-20 November 2021)
Most active policymakers on Twitter (original tweet only) from November 13 to 20
#6 of the most engaged tweets (among the French policymakers’ tweets) from 12 Nov 2021 to 19 Nov 2021

@ECiotti : “I warmly thank @RenaudMuselier and @cestrosi for their decisive contribution to the election of @davidlisnard

Their support for the Macronist candidate will have offered Emmanuel Macron a historic defeat.”

Twitter followers of all the candidates to the Congress of the Republicans

This graph will be automatically updated every day. So, stay tuned to follow the impact of the debates on the number of Twitter followers. TV debates have already taken place on 8, 14, 21 and 30 November. However, these are showing a surprisingly low impact on social media followership.

Image rights: Logo of the Republicans, Les Républicains, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

This article was originally published in English. Translations have been generated automatically and may be incorrect.