“In Brittany, the population of certain villages is changing, this fuels the RN vote” – L’Express

In Brittany the population of certain villages is changing this

Even Brittany gave in. In the four departments, the National Rally (RN) came first in the vote for the European elections on Sunday June 9, with 25.6% of the votes cast. A first.

Above all, the result contrasts with the previous election of 2019, when the Republic on the Move had pocketed the majority of votes – 25.64% – in the region, eight points ahead of the RN list. According to Romain Pasquier, political scientist and research director at CNRS as well as at Sciences Po Rennes, this shift reflects the desire of Bretons, particularly rural ones, to mark their disagreement with the government.

L’Express: What analysis do you make of the victory of the National Rally in all Breton departments?

Romain Pasquier: The centrist electorate – which claims a Christian Democratic heritage and secular republicanism – has always driven elections in the region. This is a historic result in Brittany. The progress of the RN, already present in previous elections, is very noticeable in rural areas. The population has the impression of being left behind. This frustration leads to a rejection of the current power, which is spreading to the Breton countryside.

READ ALSO: Bardella and rural France: “The territory does not alone determine the RN vote”

Brittany is a geographically fairly dispersed territory. Car traffic is necessary and residents have suffered from inflation which has particularly had an impact on the price of diesel. The cost of housing has also exploded.

In addition, it is the region with the lowest unemployment rate, in particular thanks to a foreign workforce who have long worked in the agri-food industry. The population of certain small villages is changing and this fuels the RN vote.

“The regional center-left has returned to the socialist fold”

Conversely, certain large Breton cities like Brest, Saint-Malo or Rennes – where Jordan Bardella’s list achieved a meager score of 9.4% – resisted the tidal wave of the RN. How do you explain it?

In the case of Rennes, the town hall has been owned by the Socialist Party since 1977. Important public policies for social and educational cohesion have been carried out. Especially since it has nearly 65,000 students, who tend to vote on the left. In the commune of Rennes, the RN vote is not progressing. But a rural-urban divide is taking place.

READ ALSO: Mr. Macron, if you want to prevent July 7 from looking like a dark Sunday…, by Eric Chol

What other regional lessons can we draw from this election?

Brittany remains, with Île-de-France, one of the territories which has best resisted the breakthrough of the extreme right. It is also interesting to note that the PS-Place publique list came in second position in the region, with 18.4% of the votes cast, slightly ahead of Valérie Hayer. The regional center-left, which mainly supports Emmanuel Macron since 2017, has returned to the socialist fold.

None of Brittany’s 28 seats in the National Assembly are occupied by an RN deputy. Could the situation change on June 30 and July 7?

I urge caution: we must not draw national lessons from a European election. In Brittany, the RN scores are lower (by around 6 points) at the national level. There will be a reserve of votes against the far right. If we do the math, the Socialist Party, the ecologists and France Insoumise remain, in a way, in the majority with 32% of the votes. We must see if the dissolution of the Assembly will have a retraction effect, in which the French return to a more traditional vote.