Monday, May 16

Pompidou, Balladur, Besson… The great betrayals of the French presidential elections

The successive rallies to Eric Zemmour are seen by the political families flouted as betrayals. These frequent treacheries at the time of presidential elections are not new. A look back at the great betrayals that marked the races at the Elysée.

Georges Pompidou turns against General de Gaulle

Legend has it that Georges Pompidou launched a “fashion”: from his presidency, no tenant of the Elysée Palace would settle there without having had, at some point in his ascent, the reputation of a traitor.

Georges Pompidou’s betrayal began in January 1969. After being dismissed following May 1968, he said, in an interview given from Rome, that he was ready to take on the responsibility of power, giving himself the role of an alternative to General deGaulle. An announcement that will end up weakening the general, who will retire from political life a few months later, after the failure of the referendum on regionalization.

Jacques Chirac betrayed by his “friend” Edouard Balladur

It was one of the most famous fratricidal battles of the right, that which will oppose “the friends of thirty years”, Edouard Balladur and Jacques Chirac. After his failure in 1988 against François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac prepared his conquest of the Elysée with the help of his former minister Edouard Balladur.

However, just like Chirac before him in 1986, Edouard Balladur was appointed Prime Minister for cohabitation in 1993. The new tenant of Matignon then reduced the share of Chiraquiens in his government and moved away from “Jacques” until he announced his candidacy. in the presidential election of 1995. The cold war between the two men began and Balladur was favored by the right in the polls.

But betrayal will galvanize Jacques Chirac who will end up winning the battle, narrowly. In the first round of the 1995 presidential election, Jacques Chirac was only ahead of Balladur by 2.3 points.

Eric Besson abandons Ségolène Royal

Eric Besson was an active member of Ségolène Royal’s campaign in 2007. Responsible for quantifying the economic program of the latter, he will abandon it in the middle of the campaign. The betrayal could have been less painful, if it had not taken place on the evening of the first round of the election and for the benefit of the opponent of the candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy.

A juicy betrayal for Eric Besson who will later become the Minister of Immigration and National Identity of the winner and new President Nicolas Sarkozy. An appointment that will react the first secretary of the PS at the time, François Hollande. Renowned for his humor, the latter will qualify Eric Besson as a “happy traitor”.

Emmanuel Macron bypasses François Hollande

The desertion of the then Minister of the Economy will be experienced by his former political family (PS) as a betrayal. Emmanuel Macron announced on November 16, 2016 his intention to start the race for the Elysée and short-circuited François Hollande, then president.

When one belongs to the political family of the outgoing president, it is customary to wait for the withdrawal of the latter before embarking on his turn in the race. A custom that Emmanuel Macron did not respect by leaving the socialist party to create En Marche and by announcing his candidacy even before François Hollande had made his decision. On December 1, 2016, faced with the division of the PS, François Hollande announced that he would not stand again.

Manuel Valls releases Benoît Hamon

Between Paris and Barcelona, ​​the former Prime Minister of François Hollande has forged a reputation as a political opportunist. After the betrayal of Emmanuel Macron in 2016, Manuel Valls insisted on the importance of remaining faithful to François Hollande. A few months later, in 2017, the former Prime Minister will refuse to support Benoît Hamon, PS candidate, rallying to Emmanuel Macron.

However, Manuel Valls does not see his change of camp as a treachery. “So what is this betrayal of staying true to your ideas?” he replies.

After a stint in Spain, Manuel Valls is back in France in 2022 and supports two candidates. On TV5Monde, he declared on January 20: “I am ready to work with Emmanuel Macron and Valérie Pécresse because there is no other solution than to bring the French people together on the essentials.” A new declaration of multiple allegiance which did not fail to react and revive the label that sticks to its skin.

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