They are both from the UMP and have their sights set on 2027. On the one hand, Edouard Philippe, mayor of Le Havre and former Prime Minister of Emmanuel Macron, on the other, Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne region -Rhône-Alpes and ex-president of the Republicans.

After leaving Matignon in July 2020, Edouard Philippe returns to Le Havre to exercise his mandate as mayor. Still particularly popular with the French, he created his Horizon party in 2021 with one goal in mind, the presidential election of 2027. Since then, his party, although independent, has been integrated into the presidential majority. If the ex-foal of Alain Juppé remains discreet in political news, each of his interventions is thoughtful and he never loses sight of his true objective.

In the June 8, 2023 edition of L’Express, Edouard Philippe chose to toughen his speech on a theme cherished by the right: immigration. “The rapid increase in the number of foreigners in France is contributing to the embolism of many of our public services”, he declared in particular, specifying “I know few French people who consider that there are too many Ukrainian immigrants, but I see a lot of French people for whom the question of Islam has become a subject, a central subject, a disturbing subject, an obsessive subject”.

By making such remarks, the former Prime Minister knows what he is doing. Its goal ? Conquer the right. But if he is particularly appreciated on this side of the political spectrum, he is not the only one.

While Edouard Philippe straightens his speech, Laurent Wauquiez tries, conversely, to conquer the centrist bloc now acquired by Emmanuel Macron. To do this, he does not hesitate to make more than surprising statements and even spoke well of the President of the Republic.

In a long interview given to Le Point in May 2023, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region thus judged that “Emmanuel Macron has succeeded in embodying France internationally. He has given impetus at European level, he has carried an ambition, ideas. He did not shame us, unlike sometimes his predecessor”

“I am not in a position of political criticism, because that will not solve our problems. the recovery of learning, a pro-business discourse to prevent those who succeed from leaving France. I would not say that Macron is a disaster”, he added.

The strategy is therefore clear, Laurent Wauquiez walks on the ground of Edouard Philippe and the latter returns the favor. A question therefore arises, which of the two will manage to conquer the camp of the right in 2027? If their two tactics are very different, they intertwine and clearly hide a duel between the two men which has already begun. But for now, what are the polls saying?

“They are both highly appreciated by LR sympathizers. They have in common that they have to conquer the central bloc of political life. Within this, the Philippe-Wauquiez battle will take place to take the leadership of the reform party. and order”, analyzes Frédéric Dabi, director general opinion of Ifop with Le Figaro.

In an Ifop* poll published in April 2023 on the ability of different personalities to bring the right together, Edouard Philippe seems to have a head start for the time being. Indeed, 47% of French people believe that he could bring together right-wing voters in the run-up to the next presidential election. For Laurent Wauquiez, this figure is 21%.

For Renaissance supporters, this figure rises to 83% for the former Prime Minister while it drops to 23% for the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Finally, with regard to supporters of the right, including the Republicans, they are 62% to believe that Edouard Philippe could bring together the right, while they are 42% to think so for Laurent Wauquiez.

For the time being, the mayor of Le Havre therefore seems to be more popular than his rival. However, the presidential election is still very far away and nothing says that the curves will not eventually meet and perhaps even reverse.

“The view of the French on right-wing political figures in the perspective of 2027”, produced by Ifop for Paris Première. The survey was conducted online between April 14 and 17, 2023 with a sample of 1003 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over according to the quota method (sex, age, profession).