POLITICAL SCANNING – His vice-presidency of the Republican party did not last six months, but Virginie Calmels has a bitter memory of it. Questioned by Le Point , she returned to her tense relationship with Laurent Wauquiez, who will eventually oust him in June.
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Virginie Calmels, the former vice-president of the party Republicans (LR), sacked on June 17 by Laurent Wauquiez, gave an interview to the weekly Le Point to tell the difficult cohabitation she lived with the party president of right.
After weeks of increased tension, the break between Calmels and Wauquiez had been scathing and scathing. The public disagreement was born against the backdrop of criticism, especially on France Inter , particularly about the LR leaflet calling for France to remain France. Her interview with the Parisian , less than a week later, in which she declared that she had “sincerely believed in Wauquiez’s desire to assemble,” was right in her position in LR’s management. A month later, in Le Point , she confided at length on the deterioration of her relations with the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
“I told myself, wrongly, that he had no choice but to gather”
They had begun to tame at the foot of Mount Mézenc, stronghold of Laurent Wauquiez that he climbs every year for his political return. So last September 3, everyone came with his known political line, they start in front of the journalists the union of right-wing currents. “I told myself, wrongly, that he had no choice but to bring together the Liberals, the Gaullists, the Conservatives and him to do the synthesis,” promises the Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux, who would have almost fallen from the closet by discovering the conservative line of Wauquiez. While the campaign for the presidency of LR was just beginning, the alliance of the last juppéiste and the defender of a more straight line already surprised.
With ten months of hindsight, she claims to have formed a tandem “globally agree on everything” campaign time and relations spoiling at the victory of Wauquiez. She says that the latter announces very late his wish to place it just above Guillaume Peltier, a “former member of the National Front of Youth” also passed by the Movement for France by Philippe de Villiers. That she mentions it is not trivial: Guillaume Peltier makes very rarely reference to his political past. But for the one who had set itself as a red line, with his mentor Alain Juppé, “porosity” with the extreme right party, it’s a difficult blow to cash. “He just tried to put me in front of the fait accompli, after doing his tramp on my back,” she analyzes, bitter. She will learn later – “evidence was sent to me via a screenshot of a WhatsApp message,” she pleads – that the new strongman on the right wanted to thank her even before they are returned their political differences.
“I tell myself that he has taken the big head”
After his stint on the set of the Political Emission of France 2 in late January, the popularity of the new president of the Republicans is a leap, says Calmels. “He takes his place as leader of the right,” she concedes. But he then shows “extreme arrogance”, she believes, “I think he took the big head.” This opinion will be confirmed a few days later, the broadcast by the “Quotidien” broadcast of Laurent Wauquiez recordings against students of EM Lyon. “If we’re in shit, it’s because of Sarko”, he would have launched in Calmels in private, before holding more or less the same speech in front of the students of the business school.
Disagreements about the political line of the National Rally (RN, ex-FN) will multiply until the break. In March, while Marine Le Pen announces that his party will support the LR candidate during a partial legislative Mayotte Calmels fulminates and tweets: “We will always prefer to lose rather than win through any alliance with the FN.” Wauquiez he, “will wall in a deafening silence,” she recalls, bitterly. Assuring to say “yes to compromise [and] no to compromise”, Calmels recounts a management meeting going back a few days before his ouster. “I took the opportunity to take the other members to witness by revealing that (…) Laurent Wauquiez had secretly seen Thierry Mariani”, the very one who “advocates the alliance with the National Front”.
The charge of Virginie Calmels does not stop there. On three occasions during her interview at Le Point , she compares the one who thanked her for the very rightful Patrick Buisson. She denounces her “identity line, populist and anti-liberal”. To identify the political project of Wauquiez, Calmels believes that “just read The cause of the people” of the former adviser Nicolas Sarkozy. She reproaches the president of the Republicans for having “the same mentor” as Marion Maréchal, who had not then retired from politics. The former Republican number 2 even ensures he warned Wauquiez he was “Marion Marion less good” at the risk of being “eaten” by the niece of Marine Le Pen.