The first round has barely been completed, all eyes are already on March 28, the date on which the Genevans will elect their 7th Councilor of State. Faced with the Green Fabienne Fischer, victorious Sunday, the right was still trying, Monday evening, to define a strategy. The very good score of Pierre Maudet, resigning magistrate and candidate for his own re-election, pushed the PLR Cyril Aellen, accusing nearly 9,000 votes behind, to abdicate immediately. Meeting in night conclave Monday, his party gave up launching another candidate, and also refused to support one of the remaining postulants. The Vert’libéral Michel Matter, for his part, preferred to give up, without, again, giving instructions to vote for the time being.
The UDC Yves Nidegger is therefore the one who remains in the race, endangering the chances of the right. Monday evening, the SVP praised its candidate, “the only right-wing candidate in the second round”: “The Geneva population expects something other than what the candidates still in the running are proposing. Yves Nidegger now embodies not only the only alternative to the policy pursued so far and rejected by the population, but also the right as a whole, ”argues the party.
The day before the first round, the PLR had a dream: to turn the page Pierre Maudet. On the strength of this illusion, the Entente had recovered, the PDC had dubbed the candidate of the bourgeois party, hoping that the traditional recipe would work, despite some hiccups in recent years. One “detail” derailed the calculations: the people. Almost one in four voters (22.6% of voters) supported Pierre Maudet. More determined than ever, the latter intends to maintain himself, just like the favorite Fabienne Fischer, who will benefit from the support of the candidate of the far left Morten Gisselbaeck, who does not stand for re-election.
Bar the road to the left
After the astonishment, it is confusion at the PLR. Even if the management does not want it, some would like to see Cyril Aellen reverse his decision. The trap has indeed closed on the PLR: leave the field open to Pierre Maudet or elect the Green Fabienne Fischer. An alliance with Yves Nidegger’s SVP does not seem a possible option either. After forfeiting it would be like knocking a second knee down. Therefore, the bourgeois party is faced with this impossible dilemma: “If all the right-wing parties withdraw, then we must be ready to consider the election of Pierre Maudet, and admit that the main thing is to block the left. », Analyzes a PLR deputy.
At this stage, everything is still unclear. In a context of triangular between Fabienne Fischer, Pierre Maudet and Yves Nidegger, the left has a good chance of winning against the divisions of the right. If the second round pits Pierre Maudet and the Green Fabienne Fischer, this will not help the affairs of the PDC either, which sees its ally and liberal competitor progress. “In this case, no more candidate will represent our project of society”, affirms the president of PDC Geneva, Delphine Bachmann. We see it coming: “Either we leave the freedom to vote in the second round, or we present a candidacy.” Hers? “We will have to see the trend at the general assembly, we are thinking,” replied the member to the Grand Council. A risky bet that could lead some of his voters to favor Pierre Maudet, potentially better equipped to prevent Fabienne Fischer’s accession to the throne than a last-minute candidacy. The question of the useful vote also arises among the Socialists, who are not all enthusiastic about the Green. In addition, his election would ratify two green seats on the Council of State, while the socialist Anne Emery-Torracinta will not stand for re-election in 2023 and her comrade Thierry Apothéloz does not appear as an indisputable leader. Anyway, and especially on the right, the Maudet-Fischer duel comes down to choosing between plague and cholera.
A majority right but fragmented
Monday afternoon, the consultations looked like a chess tournament ahead of time, each watching the competition, one’s strategy influencing that of the others. Whatever arrangements are made, there remains the question of a divided right which is no longer successful and must reconfigure itself in anticipation of the 2023 elections. The figures are paradoxical: on Sunday, the left won 35% of the vote, the parties of right and center total, them, more than 60% of the votes. However, the right is in ruins, each party playing its part. “It’s incredible to see a majority right in Geneva but so fragmented that it loses all the elections,” fulminates Yvan Zweifel, PLR group leader at the Grand Council.
What to do then? If the PLR admits that the death knell has sounded for the Entente, it remains to expand towards the Liberal Greens and, “in an ideal world, towards the SVP, that is to say towards the whole right”, adds Yvan Zweifel, as is the case in the cantons of Vaud or Friborg. Except that in Geneva, the Liberal Greens are building against the PLR and are more inclined to team up with the PDC, as in the last municipal elections: “An alliance with the PDC is not unnatural,” says the president. from the Geneva section Marie-Claude Sawerschel. The PLR has so far not had much consideration for the Liberal Greens, whom it considered at best as small carriers of water. ” The stated objective of the party, without any strength in the Grand Council but carried by the Matter locomotive, has always been to aim for 2023. For him, this complementary election is a warm-up lap. “Our vocation is not to try to put out the fire and burn our wings”, continues Marie-Claude Sawerschel about the withdrawal of Michel Matter. Without a peaceful PLR, the union of the Geneva right is not for tomorrow.
“A discourse focused on honesty”
Faced with the hesitations of the right, the Alternative intends to unite with the extreme left. It must be said that the stakes are high: the victory of Fabienne Fischer would tip the State Council to the left, for the second time only in the history of the canton. To win the seat, the president of the Geneva Greens Delphine Klopfenstein, counts on the reservoir of votes on the left, but not only.
“Beyond the partisan divide, Fabienne Fischer has a discourse focused on honesty, integrity and respect for institutions,” she underlines. Values that we defend on a daily basis, but which can appeal to other political camps. ” After a first warm-up lap, the left thus bet on the center, but also on the woman advantage to consolidate its lead. Some 38,000 votes in the first round, Fabienne Fischer’s score may have seemed disappointing. “I do not agree, refutes Delphine Klopfenstein. This result is very good, we wanted her to be in the lead, the goal was reached. What’s more, with a score similar to that of Antonio Hodgers in 2018. ” Faced with a candidate declared guilty by justice, Fabienne Fischer embodies, according to her, the promise of a peaceful exit from the crisis.