November 14, 2017
The apolitical movement inside LREM
This coming Saturday, Christophe Castaner is to take the helm as the new leader of La République en Marche. He has a formidable task to turn a movement that was geared to bring renewal - and Emmanuel Macron into power - into a political party. The party congress the fault lines become apparent. We don’t expect any challenge in the leadership contest, as Castaner is the only candidate. But at this congress the members will also elect the executive board, the main governing body of the movement. Four lists will compete, and the top one will grab all the seats. And here the dividing lines are becoming apparent. There is the "Casta" list with political heavyweights like Richard Ferrand. And there are lists composed of civil society members from the movement. L’Opinion warns there is a revolutionary mood in their ranks. Civil society members will only vote for their own candidates, and look to promote their own sort of movement, "en marche citoyens". After five months in power, the link between Paris and the constituencies has weakened. There are many non-political local projects in the name of LREM out there in the field. There is also a movement fatigue: Among the 380.000 members of LREM about 120.000 are still active, though in all sorts of different committees and forms. Only 10% are still fully committed and en marche to transform the country.
Will LREM succeed as a political movement? On everything they did the opposite to other parties. Get elected first, then turn into a party. There is no precedent here. The question is, now that Emmanuel Macron is president, can those anti-establishment forces be used towards building the backbone of a political party which already has a majority?
Until now the movement was without an ideological framework, which left a lot of space for power games, personal clashes, and haggling over jobs. In the constituencies, relations are particularly tense between LREM parliamentarians and the movement. Castaner is to sort out this cacophony and prepare the movement for the next task, the European elections in 2019. A formidable challenge indeed.