The Mayotte Archipelago is the department where the National Rally signed its highest score in the first round of the presidential election. Marine Le Pen won 42.68% of the vote there, well ahead of the other candidates, but also very far from her 2017 result. In a department plagued by insecurity and illegal immigration, RN seduces.
It was in Mayotte, more than 8,000 kilometers from its traditional strongholds in the north of France – 39.27% and 38.68% of the votes in Aisne and Pas-de-Calais – that Marine Le Pen achieved its best result in the first round, well ahead of Jean- Luc Mélenchon and Emmanuel Macron. It obtained 42.89% of the votes, or 14,958 Mayotte’s votes, where Insoumi won 23.96% (8,398 votes) and the outgoing president 16.94% (5,936 votes).
In her third presidential campaign, the National Rally candidate experiences a very strong growth in Mayotte, where in 2012 she started from a very low base, with a modest result of 2.77% (996 votes). In 2017, she was promoted in the first round with 27.19%, behind François Fillon (32.62%), but was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the second round with 42.89% of the vote (14,374 votes). Five years later, he leads the first round and already has far more votes than in the second round of 2017. Emmanuel Macron lost 428 votes compared to the first round of 2017.
A “sensitive chord” of uncertainty and illegal immigration
Thani Mohamed-Soilihi, Mayotte Senator of the Rally of Democrats, Progressives and Independents (RDPI, formerly LREM), is “unfortunately not too surprised” with the result which “is a continuation of the 2019 European elections”, where the Supervisory Board collected 46.12% of the vote. For MP Marine Le Pen, she “blows heat with her speech on immigration and insecurity” in Mayotte. “This easy, populist discourse speaks locally. That explains the result, ”explains France 24.
Uncertainty and illegal immigration, RN’s favorite themes, touch the “sensitive cord” of many Mahorais, believes Thani Mohamed-Soilihi. This feeling is confirmed by data from INSEE and local media, which repeat the problems encountered in the archipelago.
In its report “Living Environment and Safety in Mayotte” of November 2021, INSEE describes “exceptional crime”. In 2018-2019, in every area – burglary, theft, physical or sexual violence … – Mahoranian crime clearly outweighs the figures in mainland France. “The people of Mayotte are personally three times more victims of theft, with or without violence,” points out INSEE, and the feeling of insecurity “far exceeds any metropolitan or other Drom (overseas departments and regions) standard.” Indeed, 48% of Mahorais feel unsafe at home (52% in their neighborhood), five to six times more than in France. All these numbers are increasing from year to year.
The clandestine immigration also worries the population: boats from the Comoros arrive daily and irritate the Mahorais, who see it as the source of much evil. In its February 2019 report, INSEE indicated that between “significant immigration from the Comoros” and the departure of “Mayotte residents abroad”, 48% of the department’s population were foreigners in 2017, an increase of 8% from 2012.
Blessed bread for Marine Le Pen, who discussed these topics extensively during her last visit to the archipelago, in December 2021. “Mayotte is almost a laboratory of horror. (…) If nothing is done, our future,” she announced to the voters’ front. conquered.
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) December 18, 2021
A supporter of the outgoing president, Senator Thani Mohamed-Soilihi also recalls “very difficult times of recent years”, but approaches the subject from a completely different perspective: “There is a particle of injustice, because it is the result of several years of ineffective actions. If previous governments had dealt with these plagues as Emmanuel Macron did, we would not be where we are today. ” As an example, he mentions the reduction in the proportion of the population living below the poverty line from 84% to 77% in the last five years.
“The Mahayas feel abandoned. The result agrees with what is happening. (…) It was important for the candidate to take into account our fears, our difficulties. It was Marine Le Pen that gave us conviction,” Daniel Zaïdani explained in front of Mayotte La 1ère in the evening of the first round. “Emmanuel Macron has shown limits to what we need,” added the former Mayotte General Council president from 2011 to 2015, who supported Marine Le Pen in December 2021.
While Marine Le Pen spent three days in Mayotte in late 2021, Emmanuel Macron contented himself with the film and letter to Mahorais and Overseas on March 17.
For the President of the Republic, this is a delicate end to his five-year term in Mayotte, a country where he made one of the first communication mistakes after being elected. In June 2017, Emmanuel Macron joked about kwassa-kwassa, fast fishing boats that are also used by illegal immigrants. – Kwassa-kwassa catches little, it brings from the Comoros, it is different – he began, arousing controversy.
On April 24, in the second round, Senator Mohamed-Soilihi is hoping for a rebound in favor of the President of the Republic and is betting on abstentions: “There is clarification work and ground to be done. first round, not enough. We must continue it and see where the most abstentions were. It’s a long-term job. ” And there is work to be done: 59.69% of the voting-age population abstained in the first round, the highest rate ever recorded in a Mayotte presidential election, exceeding 58.78% in 2002.
Behind Marine Le Pen, the invisible RN in Mayotte
Seen from the perspective of the metropolis, the RN plebiscite arouses misunderstanding of those who do not know the problems of Mayotte. There was mockery or angry reactions on social networks before Marine Le Pen’s score. “It is an anomaly that the black population, over 90% of Muslims, votes for an Islamophobe, a party member whose members regularly make speeches against blacks, Arabs, Muslims …” says Thani Mohamed-Soilihi.
Instead of an “anomaly”, Daniel Zaïdani sees it as “clairvoyance”: “Unless you say that the Mahorai are morons who don’t understand politics … the Mahorai are clairvoyants,” he explained on the Mayotte plateau. April 1, 12
But if crime and illegal immigration carried Marine Le Pen during the European elections and again in the first round of the 2022 presidential election, the National Rally is struggling to find a seat in local polls. The far-right party hardly existed in the local government elections in 2020, achieving little better results than in the parliamentary elections in 2017, in which it won only 3.08% of the votes. And even the website of the Mahoran federation RN refers to an abandoned address, which is a sign of a cruel lack of organization.
This is the paradox of Mayotte, where the National Assembly leaves the opposition to local elections while its boss seduces the Mahorais and fools around at other major elections.