Presidential 2022: “The election must not be confiscated…” The fear of a campaign anesthetized by the Covid-19

The presidential of 2022 will she succeed in emancipating herself from the coronavirus? Due to the epidemic, the campaign is already unlike any other: meetings canceled, politicians tested positive, monopolization of the debate… Three months before the first round, the Covid-19 never stops spoiling the party. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex set up a dialogue body to try to reassure the candidates about the course of the weeks to come. But beyond the technical aspect, another fear remains: the prospect of an anesthetized campaign, where the epidemic would never stop dictating its agenda.

“A campaign 57% Covid would be dramatic for the country”

The environmentalist primary, the emergence of Eric Zemmour then the LR congress led this start of the campaign, but the epidemic recovery linked to the variant Omicron now seems to be sweeping away all the other themes. “The campaign is for the moment phagocytosed by the Covid-19, it prevents other themes from emerging. We regularly test the conversation topics of the French. In our poll on Tuesday, we see that the top five topics are linked to the epidemic”, confirms Frédéric Dabi, general manager opinion of Ifop.

“At the moment, it is difficult to be heard on anything other than sanitary facilities. On the sets, I am told that people only want to hear about that…”, regrets Sébastien Chenu, RN deputy and spokesperson for Marine Le Pen. “But a 57% Covid campaign would be dramatic for the country. People would feel like the election was stolen. ”

The candidates are all the more worried that during the last presidential election, the affairs of François Fillon had already polluted the countryside. “The election of 2022 was confiscated by the judicial agenda, that of 2022 must not be confiscated by the health agenda. During her travels, Valérie Pécresse tries to impose her subjects, in particular on security, but it is more difficult because Emmanuel Macron seeks to make Covid the only campaign theme, ”targets Guilhem Carayon, spokesperson for the candidate. LR.

“When there is 360.000 case per day, isn’t it worth talking about? “

In the opposition, the head of state is accused of taking advantage of the health crisis, in particular by posing the debate in a very clear-cut way on the establishment of the vaccination pass. “Emmanuel Macron instrumentalizes the epidemic. By saying that he “fucks” the non-vaccinated, he wants to impose this subject and a deadly divide on us, denounces Antoine Diers, deputy director of campaign strategy for Eric Zemmour. But the election cannot be held hostage by the government over the health crisis. It is urgent to move on to other subjects: security, immigration, education, rurality… ”

” The debates on the health crisis and the lessons that the country must derive from it are legitimate. But the pandemic does not erase other disasters facing the country, such as global warming. It is not the pandemic that obscures the other issues but the will of a certain number of political forces, including the president, to avoid talking about the climate ”, sighs Delphine Batho, spokesperson for the ecologist Yannick Jadot.

Criticisms swept away by the macronists. ” When there is 300.000 case per day, isn’t it worth talking about? When the tests cost 1 billion to the taxpayer in December, isn’t it worth talking about? Who disrupts the school, the public services, the hospital, if not the epidemic and the non-vaccinated? “Asks François Patriat, boss of LREM senators. “The oppositions are still suffering from an acute macronite because they have, in reality, no idea to put forward”.

On the health, Emmanuel Macron seems untouchable

So, to push their own themes, the candidates organize themselves, multiplying thematic trips on the ground. Jean-Luc Mélenchon will hold an “immersive and olfactory” meeting next Sunday to capture the interest of the French and medias. “We pay even more attention to the way in which we convey our ideas, and the technology is an original form, confides Alexis Corbière, MP and spokesperson for the rebellious candidate. We must overcome the ambient demoralization. If the epidemic is the subject of conversation of the French, it is up to us to politicize it, to learn the lessons from it, on the state of hospitals or on the collapse of public services ”.

But on the health issue, the president seems untouchable for the moment. According to a survey 4086768Ifop published on Sunday, 57 % of French people believe that no other candidate would do better than Emmanuel Macron in the fight against the epidemic. While the opposition urges the head of state to be an official candidate, Sébastien Chenu is not impatient. “Macron has every interest in the Covid dominating the countryside, because it is currently benefiting from a halo phenomenon. But when the debate returns to everyday matters, it will then be in difficulty ”.