It is a circular room flooring vitrified, dim light of bars to the old, a little chic. On the wood paneling, the poster for the next Tea dance (12 euros the entrance), are covered tonight by the calico colored ” #avecBLM “. September 8, 2016, Bruno Le Maire, presents its programme for the primary from the right and from the center to the Flora, the concert hall of Saint-Etienne.

Almost two hours before the meeting, the first arrivals have announced the color : “it is even older than Juppé “. The police service has, him also, of the bottle. Maurice Bonnat, 73 years, provides security to meetings of the right for over thirty years, to the BAG first (Service of civic action), the feared security services of the RPF, and then the Movement Initiative and Freedom. “The guys who started with me are all in the cemetery “. Beside him, Martine has been 30 years in the army, before advocate.

to see them all, you would think that this primary is a case of retirees. It is true. According to the Survey, electoral Studies Centre of the French Political Life (CEVIPOF), over the age of 65 represent almost half of the voters in the primary of the right and of the centre : “The retired RL-IDU-MODEM count for 10 % of the electorate of the presidential election, but go up to 32 % of announced participants of the primary “. The candidate of the right in the Elysee will be there the third age ? Bruno The Mayor is, perhaps, the most striking example. It draws mainly over the age of 65, with 20 % of voting intentions in this category, but only 8 per cent under 35 years of age.

A generation invested

in Saint-Etienne, there they are, determined, aware of an influence in the election. It is safe, they have a role to play. The encartés, the true believers, those for the first time alongside those who have never done policy. No matter : for all, this is a poll decisive, may be one of the last chance. The France goes wrong, all the repeated. And if not them, who will ? the
” young people no longer believe in the policy. It is a pity “, said Jean-Paul, a former judge, between two puffs of cigar. He bought all the books-programs of presidential candidates. “Even those of Mélenchon, that is to say to you ! “Tonight, he wants to know what Bruno The Mayor proposes, before going to vote in the primary with his three sons. Is it that they would go without him ? Jean-Paul, in any case, still hope.

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In The Mayor, it is the youth who seduced the older, ironically. At the age of 47, he is the second candidate the youngest of the primary. “This generation, it is up to us to make emerge “, said Georges renal Pelvis, 61, former president of the hypermarket. Even the sound of a bell in the rows. “Juppé, I have spent my life with him. I don’t want a man of 72 years at the head of the State “, one a man of the same age. Beside him, his golf partner, polo club Saint-Tropez has made a gift to Bruno Le Maire. “We need new heads. To him, it is modern, ” he reiterates before going to greet other golfers who flock to the front row. A retired couple is already planning the dinners for the next few weeks. “We will tell them : vote Bruno “. Others go deeper. “I’m a doctor for 40 years in Saint-Etienne. I have a customer : I influence. “

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Bruno The Mayor knows this : its members are mostly older. But there is no question of talking only retirement, it explains it a little bit before the meeting. “You’re sure to make a flop. People are smarter than that. They come to listen to what you have to offer to the country. If they are engaged in politics, it is for their children. It is necessary to talk about the future, and not to the issues of their age.”

In the hall, the meeting begins. Bruno Le Maire arrives with the sound of electronic music, hugs, salutes, shakes hands. And then, at the microphone, he announces : renewal is possible, ” you don’t “. It was already the title of his book. A few days earlier, in the american church of Paris ‘ Seventh arrondissement, he talked economy and especially business in front of an audience similar, it may be easier. Since it is of appeal to over 65 years of age, “economic liberalism” and “authoritarian” culture are at the heart of discourse analysis Luc Rouban, researcher at the CEVIPOF. “A real race to the shallots between the candidates in the primary. “

A youth to showcase

Behind the blue door of the 57 rue de Seine in Paris, at the headquarters of the candidate, difficult, however, to find white hair. The place cultivates the atmosphere of “start-up” a bit cool ” according to Paul Guyot-Sionnest, national delegate of the “Young with BLM”. Indeed, it is better not to approach the average age of the electorate with him. It dodge. Why focus on that ? Around him, a dozen of activists are agitated : they have about twenty to trouble, for the most part. Some spend, bottles of rosé in hand, others work in the sun on the terrace. It embraces any newcomer, provided he is young.

Paul Guyot-Sionnest regrets : “my friends do not share my commitment. The young turn away from what is happening “. Last June, he organized an evening ” Brings your friends at Bruno “. But without Bruno : the candidate was not invited, much to his surprise. “For an atmosphere that de-politicized and speak of the primary and nothing anxiety-provoking “, pleads the national delegate. For the moment, he had not made the second night.

If young people are not the most numerous, they are an asset. Or even a strategy. The epitome of renewal. At the meeting in Paris as well as in that of Saint-Etienne, the grey hair are in the room and the blonde in ranks around the candidate. “Their commitment gives the credit to the political discourse,” acknowledges Paul Guyot-Sionnest. Remains a reality : only 14 % of them planned to go vote in the primary. To the old, now, to change the world.

Myriam Piguet, Pia Bou Acar, Hugo Serraz, Aurélien Péroumal and Capucine Truong.

This article has been produced within the framework of the World Academy, during the week of training on political journalism organized from 5 to 10 September.

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The reports of other teams of the “World” Academy:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate of the “warmed up” in the field of education nationaleFrédéric Lefebvre wants to be a candidate, an affront in addition to Nicolas SarkozyDernière a straight line very close match for the race to the parrainagesLe speeches of the candidates passed through the mill

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