Les Républicains” (LR) 

A 33 year-old philosopher will lead the list for Les Républicains (LR) in a move that is seen as an attempt by LR leader Laurent Wauquiez to push the party even further to the conservative right. François-Xavier Bellamy is relatively unknown to the French public. He is deputy mayor of Versailles and has been chosen to appeal to young voters as well as more socially conservative catholic parts of the electorate, given his opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

In an effort to offer some balance to the list, second place has been given to the more moderate Agnès Evren, Vice- President of the Isle-de-France region and former spokeman for Valérie Pécresse and 3rd place to veteran MEP Arnaud Danjean. The 3 leading candidates are presented as a trio but it is Bellamy that has caught the headlines.

The party is still recovering from the set back of the presidential election and looks set to lose almost half of the 20 MEPs elected in 2014. It is currently scoring less than 13% in the polls.

LR have decided that half of the top 20 places on the list will be held by new faces. Current MEPs who are likely to find a place include Nadine Morano, who is close to Laurent Wauquiez,

Michel Dantin is not standing.

The vote on starting article 7 proceedings against Hungary revealed the deep splits within the French delegation. Of the 20 MEPs, only 3 followed Wauquiez’s instructions to vote against the resolution condemning Orban: Frank Proust, head of delegation, Nadine Morano and Angélique Delahaye. Six others abstained – Michèle Alliot-Marie, Arnaud Danjean, Rachida Dati, Geoffroy Didier, Brice Hortefeux and Phillipe Juvin. That left 9 French MEP voting to activate article 7 – Alain Cadec, Michel Dantin, Francoise Grosstete, Marc Jouland, Alain Lamassoure, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Jerome Lavrilleux, Tokia Saifi and Anne Sander. Renaud Muselier and Maurice Ponga did not vote.

  • The center/moderate right-wing : The election of the new LR President, Laurent Wauquiez was not consensual and some national political figures (Frédérique Lefebvre (ex-member of the Government under Nicolas Sarkozy mandate) and national MPs (such as Laure de la Raudière, Franck Riester)quit the LR party to form a new one, “Agir, la droite constructive” supported by former French Prime Minister, Alain Juppé.
  • Valérie Pécresse, current President of the Paris Ile de France Region has also created a political movement without quitting the LR party. She might also want to stand in this election.