"The municipal ones? But which municipal ones? ", Boot in touch Edouard Philippe. As a good Norman who respects the old local adage ("Maybe well, yes, maybe well, no"), the Prime Minister leaves all the options open when asked about his ambitions in Le Havre next March. The mystery remains to this day.
According to our information, the subject has been raised several times with Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks. "He always said he would vote by the end of January. As the month ends on the 31st, that leaves a few more days… ”, says a relative. "A month ago, I could have sworn he was going." After the strikes and the debate on the pension reform that occupied him well, I am less sure, “tempers a minister. While another, who has his regular admissions to Matignon, thinks on the contrary that the case is folded: "He will be a candidate! And if he goes, it is to be at the top of the list. ”
Some still hesitate
Like the Prime Minister, there are still a few of them who maintain a certain vagueness in the government. This is the case of Agnès Buzyn (Health), approached to join Benjamin Griveaux in Paris, but who cannot decide. Especially since the fear of a pandemic linked to the coronavirus in China occupies him fully. Same thing for Jean-Michel Blanquer (National Education), whose name comes back insistently, even if the main party formally denies. Emmanuelle Wargon (Secretary of State for the Ecological Transition), meanwhile, is still procrastinating to say whether or not she will go to Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne)…
However, Emmanuel Macron's recommendation is clear. He has even hammered it several times in recent weeks: "That one is a minister and that one submits at one point to universal suffrage, that goes in the order of things", he slips in December at lunch with members of the majority. Everyone then understood that it was more than a piece of advice ... "He is tired of hearing that his ministers are too technical, not sufficiently rooted in reality, cut off from the territories. Passing in front of a local ballot is also a good way to seek legitimacy which can sometimes be lacking in the eyes of the public, "decrypts another adviser, even if Macron himself never had any local mandate…
So in recent weeks, the list of ministers ready to take the plunge has grown considerably. As in Paris where Marlène Schiappa (Equality between Women and Men) will be on the list in the 14th arrondissement. But also in Biarritz where there, there are two members of the government who clash for the same city: Didier Guillaume (Agriculture) and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs). An ubiquitous situation which the president is preparing to put an end to. "I'm going to decide, and very quickly," he said to one of his visitors earlier this week.
"For me politics is elections"
And then there are of course the leavers who are putting their mandate at stake, as in Tourcoing (North), the city of Gérald Darmanin, or in Marchenoir (Loir-et-Cher) for Marc Fesneau. In the end, nearly 30% of the ministers will thus be rubbed off in the municipal ballot. "I respect those who choose not to go. But for me politics is elections. And on a daily basis, I measure how much my local mandate is useful to me in my ministerial functions, "defends Gabriel Attal, candidate for Vanves (Hauts-de-Seine) and already elected in the opposition.
Even if he denies it, Emmanuel Macron - who swears he does not want to draw a national education -, suspects that he is still playing big next March. Particularly in Paris, considered as the mother of battles for the Republic on the march, where several ministers joined the list led by Benjamin Griveaux, himself formerly government spokesperson.
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But for these still new faces, municipal commitment also meets another imperative: to prove that they are not just mere comets in the political landscape. “We often talked about the government's start-up nation. As if it were an ephemeral movement. But there, by committing as they do, they demonstrate that they have, on the contrary, the will to last in public life, to prove that they are not mere parentheses ”, estimates a close relation of Edouard Philippe. With the risk, in case of failure, to endure a sanction vote to their president.
Nine candidates declared
Gérald Darmanin, Minister of Action and Public Accounts, in Tourcoing (Nord).
Sébastien Lecornu, Minister of Communities, in Vernon (Eure).
Marc Fesneau, Minister responsible for relations with the Parliament, in Marchenoir (Loir-et-Cher).
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Secretary of State for Transport, in Limoges (Haute-Vienne).
Gabriel Attal, Secretary of State for Youth, in Vanves (Haut-de-Seine).
Marlène Schiappa, Secretary of State responsible for Equality between women and men, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Secretary of State for the Economy, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Didier Guillaume, Minister of Agriculture and Jean- Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
Three outstanding applications remain : Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister, Agnès Buzyn, Minister of Health and Emmanuelle Wargon, Secretary of State for the Ecological Transition.