Presidential 2022: the specter of a campaign under Covid



In two months, the race for the Élysée will be in full swing. And if the candidates have no doubt long dreamed of an electoral campaign free of Covid-19, the simultaneous arrival of the fifth wave and the new Omicron variant has, in a few days, showered these hopes. The epidemic will, in all likelihood, still be there.

To the point of disrupting the smooth running of future negotiations and meetings? “We are not yet at the stage of designing a plan Breplied the deputy Roland Lescure, spokesperson for La République en Marche. Obviously, the virus will not have disappeared during the campaign, but we also see that we are learning to live with it, so it will not be a dark night either. We will undoubtedly be between the two. “

The health pass at the discretion of the candidates

Doctors are already warning about the risks of “clusters” in political meetings. But the executive has not yet taken any binding measures for the organization of the campaigns. The ban on gatherings or a new confinement are not on the agenda.

The policy even benefits from a derogatory regime: in a letter sent at the end of October to the heads of training, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin confirmed that the health pass would not be required during public meetings, based on a decision in this sense of the Constitutional Council. The organizers are free to impose (or not) health measures.

→ ANALYSIS. Variant Omicron, France on the alert

On November 29 at Mutualité (Paris), the 1,800 people who attended the launch meeting of “Together citizens! », The new platform of the presidential majority, had to present their health pass. “We will do it systematically”, warns the entourage of Stanislas Guerini, general delegate of LREM, indicating the presence of ventilations and self-tests. “The goal for us is for democratic life to continue, even if for that we have to push the sanitary rules to the limit. “

For the following months, no reflection is officially underway within the presidential party, which wants to be ready for any eventuality anyway. “If we have to come back to entirely digital events, we know how to, continues this close to Stanislas Guérini. We did it for the five years of En Marche! in April, and for the wishes of LREM in January. We have the teams, we have the equipment, so we will know how to do it, even if we hope not to get there. “

Republicans cancel meeting, Socialists in doubt

The first cancellation justified by the Covid-19 came from the Republicans. Christian Jacob, the president of the party, indicated that the first campaign meeting of Valérie Pécresse, scheduled for December 11, would not be held “Taking into account the obvious sanitary conditions”.

What to think the Socialists before the rally of Anne Hidalgo, December 12 in Perpignan, where 800 to 1,000 people are expected. “We are in a complicated moment. The Minister of Health evokes a peak of the wave at the end of January. If we cancel this meeting, we will cancel the following ones ”, says Boris Vallaud, spokesperson for the PS candidate. On Monday, the party awaited the decisions of the defense council. “We will find alternative solutions on the basis of what Jean Castex will say”, accepts the deputy of Landes. But he warns: “Campaigning without a public meeting will raise democratic questions. “

“We are sailing on sight with the epidemic”

At Europe Écologie-The Greens, the big meetings, judged too “Time consuming” and too expensive, have never been privileged. The party relies on another format: the “Forum of possibilities”, a sort of agora presented as its first public campaign event, on December 11 in Laon (Aisne), by the candidate Yannick Jadot. The health pass is not currently required by EELV. No more than among the Insoumis, gathered by the thousands on December 5 at La Défense. “It’s forbidden and it’s illegal to claim it”, Jean-Luc Mélenchon said on December 3 on BFM / RMC.

→ ANALYSIS. Presidential 2022: Jean-Luc Mélenchon in search of a dynamic

Like the LFI leader, the National Rally and the relatives of Eric Zemmour evoke the Constitutional Council not to impose the QR Code in public meetings. “But we still sail on sight with the epidemic, recognizes Philippe Olivier, the special adviser of Marine Le Pen. Impossible to organize meetings weeks in advance if it is to take gauges by then. During the previous presidential elections, in early December, we had a clear calendar for the coming months. Impossible this year. “

→ READ. Municipal, has the end of the campaign helped the spread of the coronavirus?

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“Meetings are cluster factories”

For Gilles Pialoux, head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at Tenon hospital in Paris: “The epidemic modeling is still complicated, but we know, with the current recovery, that the virus will circulate intensely in the coming months. However, meetings are cluster factories. It’s only a few thousand people on site, but then they could infect a much larger household. Let us not forget that in India, the dissemination of the Delta variant was part of political meetings and religious festivals. It is the applicants’ responsibility to limit the risks as much as possible. Even when the health pass is not imposed, the obligation to wear a mask, the dissemination of prevention messages and screening operations would be useful. “

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