French politics

When some neo-centrist activists are rebelling…

Hervé Morin, former candidate for the French presidency and current Nouveau Centre leader

Hervé Morin hoped to get a cool day, but it was not the case!

The Nouveau Centre (New Centre, NC) president gathered its troops at Nogent sur Marne (near Paris) for a special congress. Planned a moment ago, the congress was to confirm the former minister of Defence’s candidacy for the French presidential race.

But, Hervé Morin withdrew his candidacy and decided to back Nicolas Sarkozy, the last week and the congress was to be a mere formality and confirm the NC rallying to the outgoing president. Nonetheless, some neo-centrists activists decided to disturb the congress, strongly criticizing the rallying and also the strategy led by Morin concerning his candidacy so far. Thus, the NC leader was largely booed, some people even demanding the resignation.

Hervé Morin is not going to step down, the motion he defended being adopted by his party. However, this episode explicitly put forward the bad ambiance existing within the party and the current struggle for power to get the leader’s position.

Indeed, the NC leader is in the hot seat and some clearly show their ambitions as Jean-Christophe Lagarde, NC vice-president and MP, who explicitly criticized the authority of his leader, insisting on the fact Morin did not consult the executive board on the relevance of his candidacy.

The rebellion of the neo-centrists representatives was effective insofar as Morin gave up his candidacy, in the absence of any support inside his own movement. In spite of all, some divisions still exist, the young centrists activists deciding to back the François Bayrou candidacy, considered as closer to the ideas and the ideology they defend.

Once again, the Nouveau Centre proves, it is an auxiliary of the UMP, the current ruling right party. The NC wanted to defend and affirm its centrist convictions in the framework of the current presidential debate, it finally succeeded to ridicule his leader, weakened and on the hot seat now. Some important representatives and members of the movement will able to be relaxed and consider their political career quietly probably but these ones reinforced the cold of their own party. But anyway, if they have the guarantee to keep their MP seat, not to say get something better in case of Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election, why not!

The NC seems to accommodate this situation, for political and electoral reasons but not the young centrist activists really who have to grin and it bitterly. As far as Morin is concerned, he knows that some people are waiting the good moment to replace him. In other words, it is a kind of warning for him and a party which we are still wondering on its utility in the French political life.