French politics

Viva UDI! (or when Bayrou makes an alliance with Borloo)

Jean-Louis Borloo (UDI founder and leader) and François Bayrou (Modem leader) during the public tribute to Pierre Mauroy (former French PM) in June 2013

Jean-Louis Borloo (UDI founder and leader) and François Bayrou (Modem leader) during the public tribute to Pierre Mauroy (former French PM) in June 2013

It’s by Twitter François Bayrou and Jean-Louis Borloo announced the rapprochement of their two political parties in the forecast of the March 2014 local elections. The Modem and UDI parties should run together and support each other to win some cities during this election.

This rapprochement, started a moment ago, is the first step to the reunification of the French Centre after its division in 2002 (when a large part of UDF activists and representatives decided to join the UMP party) and 2007. At that time, some UDF executives (as Hervé Morin, Maurice Leroy and Jean-Christophe Lagarde) decided to join Nicolas Sarkozy at the run-off of the French presidential election, disowning François Bayrou’s strategy who, due to the 18% he got after the first round and considered his time was finally come, wanted the Modem to be an independent party.

This strategy could have been fruitful if only the Modem did not be the victim of his leader’s choices and personality, unable to act collectively and make any compromise, preventing his party to be the political alternative it supposed to be In France. From its creation, in November 2007, the Democratic Movement has been perceived as a party made by Bayrou, designed by Bayrou and existing for Bayrou quasi-exclusively, preventing other personalities of this movement to have a role in the evolution of this political movement, which has a consequence, electorally speaking and largely explains Bayrou’s successive political failures.  

François Bayrou delivrering a speech as Modem leader, the 18th of May 2007 in Paris

François Bayrou delivrering a speech as Modem leader, the 18th of May 2007 in Paris

The Modem party is experiencing an “electoral breakdown” since its beginning, rarely getting more than 10% of the votes in all the elections. In 2012, François Bayrou only got 9.11% at the presidential election instead of 18%, which marginalized more. Despites the fact he backed François Hollande before the run-off, he was defeated during the legislative elections, losing the way to exist at the national level. Since then, the Modem party is more and more out of the national level while the Jean-Louis Borloo’s UDI manages to play its cards right although the Parti radical valoisien and the Nouveau Centre (two political parties, founding members of UDI) took part to François Fillon’s government during the Nicolas Sarkozy’s term.

That probably explains why François Bayrou decided to bound his party to UDI even if it means denying his strategy and his convictions regarding to this emergence of an independent centrist party, interested by general interest and freed from the Left/Right opposition seen as obsolete. This rapprochement makes the death of the Modem party, at least the strategy put forward by Bayrou from 2007, official and the UDI can enjoy the situation insofar as people as Hervé Morin or Jean-Christophe Lagarde can question the Bayrou’s political strategy, as if the centrism in France was compatible with the Right only and could not behave as an independent force, due to the institutions of the V° Republic and the mode of election.

HOMMAGE NATIONAL A PIERRE MAUROY

Making their rapprochement official, François Bayrou hopes to save his party and his political career from the collapse even if it means giving right to Jean-Louis Borloo and his current strategy. The UDI leader is aware of this, and seems to be the real winner. The question is to know if the centre will be able to make the difference vis-à-vis the UMP party, we can have some doubts on this.

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