Edouard Philippe at a public meeting for municipal meetings in Le Havre. - SAMEER AL-DOUMY / AFP
Do not call him "Prime Minister". In Le Havre, one week before the first round of "fairly tense" municipal elections, Edouard Philippe multiplies "apartment meetings" in an attempt to convince voters in small clusters, defending a beer in his hand, his results and his program. That evening, around twenty guests listened to Edouard Philippe clearing the sensitive subject: his double cap.
"Contrary to what some people say," go to the town hall "it is not to secure my back," says the man who will not settle in town hall until he has left Matignon. Being Prime Minister, “will it stop the day after the municipal elections, in May 2022, or somewhere in the middle, I don't know. As long as he (Emmanuel Macron) asks me to serve, I serve, "he continues.
A disturbing survey
"But one day it will stop and I know exactly what I want to do: continue what I had started in 2010", when he took over as mayor of Le Havre until 2017, he adds, during this meeting. Eight days before the election, Edouard Philippe continues this ordinary exercise for a candidate in the campaign and whom he likes: he claims to have done 132 in 2014. And no question of formalism. " Oh no ! ", Thunders Edouard Philippe when a guest gives him" Monsieur the Prime Minister ".
"He does a lot of back and forth, he eats the rind," observed one of his ministers, noting "concern" of Edouard Philippe. A poll published this week, however, credits it with 42% of voting intentions, a comfortable advance over its main competitors, the communist Jean-Paul Lecoq (25%) and the ecologist Alexis Deck (16%). But a hypothetical union of the left could threaten him in the second round. Anticipating the maneuver, Edouard Philippe shoots an arrow: "You will see what it's like for apparatchiks in list mergers", he taunts.
The study also does not assess abstention, very strong in 2014 (53%), knowing that a burst of mobilization could be unfavorable in the event of a sanction vote. Saturday morning, between the stalls of the Sainte-Cécile market, an activist was distributing Jean-Paul Lecoq's leaflets, immediately urging them to "beat the list of Edouard Philippe". Inexhaustible on the big questions of mobility (tramway, airport, rail link with Paris) or industrial (offshore wind turbines), it slips however that its statute would be useful when, after the municipal ones, it will be necessary to arbitrate which of Havre, Paris or Rouen will accomodate the future headquarters of the three ports combined.
But it is also less sharp on ecological issues (Dollemard landfill, place of the bike ...), relying on the advice of specialists or associations. At the end, Edouard Philippe agreed that "mine of nothing, it is still a fairly tense campaign", in a stormy social context due to the unpopular pension reform.
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- Edouard Philippe
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