which candidate won the debate?

The challenge of the debate was simple: stop the losing machine and make the Republican party attractive again to win the next presidential election in 2027. Eric Ciotti, Bruno Retailleau and Aurélien Pradie explained what they did for about two hours. If they were elected by LR members for the first round on December 3 and 4, they would become president.


Divisions have so divided the LR party in the past that the three debaters were careful not to offend the future. So the tone was respectful and polite.

During the exchanges, everyone tried to make promises to the LR electorate. Bruno Retailleau wanted to be laid-back, Eric Ciotti tried to break away from his tough image, and Aurélien Pradié took every opportunity to point out the difference with his two elders, especially generations.

Small sentences

Aurélien Pradié said, “I will try to put an end to the couple from hell and offer you another alternative”, using the phrase “couple from hell” coined by journalist Adrien Gindre about the pair Ciotti-Retailleau.

Eric Ciotti, whose goal is to smooth his image, “The right man is not a coward.”

“Italy 1 – France 0. Madame Meloni was brave, Monsieur Macron was cowardly and powerless” Eric Ciotti.

“We must be anti-Madame Rousseau (…). Just seeing him scares me,” Eric Ciotti.

“I have neither the convictions of Emmanuel Macron nor Marine Le Pen”, Bruno Retailleau.


This is one of the topics they object to the most. Aurélien Pradié is against the legal age, Eric Ciotti wants more contributions and Bruno Retailleau wants to play both under the legal age and under the contributions.

Will they vote for Emmanuel Macron’s next pension reform? “I don’t want to cut Emmanuel Macron short,” believes Aurélien Pradie. Eric Ciotti is more nuanced: if things go in the right direction, he will vote for it.

RN in all this?

What is the attitude towards the National Rally? This is one of the challenges of this congress. “I speak to the French,” says Eric Ciotti. “I want to talk to people,” recalls Aurelien Pradie. “We must not fall into the trap of the extreme left,” warns Bruno Retailleau.

Their position is clear: talk to right-wing voters who vote extreme but don’t mention the RN or Marine Le Pen. Nicolas Sarkozy did it when he won the presidential elections in 2007.


A particularly surprising suggestion: Aurélien Pradié has previously announced that he is in favor of bringing the uniform back to school, college and high school. He even went so far as to offer the uniform to the university.

As a rule, Lot’s deputy was the most offensive: logically, he is the least likely to lose this election.

A Ciotti – Retailleau confrontation

The deputy and the senator sent several shovels during the debate. In theory, the future LR president will be one of two people. Therefore, the Ciotti Retailleau confrontation took place even with a speckled foil against the background of the rivalry between the National Assembly and the Senate.

Who won this duel? Eric Ciotti seemed more effective than his opponent, who was more skilled, but also more concrete and therefore more in terms of concepts and theories. He has already participated initially and knows how to conduct debates.

Wauquiez moment

Eric Ciotti wants to appoint Laurent Wauquies as a natural candidate for LR. Not a good idea for Bruno Retailleau, who wants to appoint an LR candidate after the 2024 Europeans.

“He’s the best and we can’t wait too long,” defends Eric Ciotti. “It’s crazy to appoint a candidate next year,” pleads Aurélien Pradie, admitting that Laurent Wauquiez is “the one who prepares the best.”

Three candidates and one president

A favorite of Ciotti

Eric Ciotti is the Member of Parliament for Alpes-Maritimes. He topped the first round of LR to nominate a presidential candidate a year ago before succumbing to Valéry Pekres. Can Eric Ciotti repeat this feat a year later? In theory, he is the candidate closest to the heart of the LR electorate, and very rightly so. His marker? Nominate Laurent Wauquiez, the current president of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region, as a candidate for the next presidential election without going through the primaries he hates.

His placement: strong right.

Retail competitor

Bruno Retailleau, 62, has long been Francois Fillon’s right-hand man, with whom he took over the Force Républicaine party. The president of the LR group in the Senate is supported by many LR leaders who are confident with the intellectual and unifying profile of the senator. The latter promises to turn things around among Republicans and turn it into a more horizontal party, where militants will regularly have to decide on elements of the political line.

His position: conservative and liberal right.

Outside Pradie

36-year-old Aurélien Pradié, deputy for Lot since 2017, is the youngest candidate for this congress and probably the least known candidate. It proliferates on the ground and in the media to overcome its infamy. In order to distinguish himself from his opponents, he made many proposals that contradicted the usual positions of his party, and supported, in his opinion, that the law should capture all subjects, including those not properly marked.

Its placement: popular and social law.

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