Emmanuel Macron during a meeting with the unions in June 2020 at the Elysée. - Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

  • The Castex government, announced Monday evening, gives pride of place to former members of Sarkozie.
  • Confirmation, according to Luc Rouban, that Emmanuel Macron "is largely at the center-right of French political life".
  • The sign, too, that the president wants to continue to take the Republicans in pincers with a view to 2022.

A Prime Minister former deputy secretary general of Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysée Palace. An interior minister who talks about the former head of state as a mentor. A Minister of Culture who served him for a long time. A Minister of Justice who has always defended him in his public interventions. Nicolas Sarkozy is everywhere in the new government of Jean Castex, a sign that Emmanuel Macron is no longer hiding from anything.

According to Luc Rouban, researcher at Cevipof and director of research at CNRS, the President of the Republic wants to continue to take the Republicans in pincers to be the candidate of right-wing voters in 2022.

Does the massive presence of former pillars of the Sarkozie in the government of Jean Castex confirm the changeover to the right of Emmanuel Macron two years from the presidential election?

I do not know if it is a turn to the right or a confirmation that Macron is largely at the center-right of French political life. With this reshuffle, he definitely assumes that he is no longer seeking the favors of the socialist electorate who had partially elected him in 2017, because he did not want a final between Fillon and Le Pen, and that he wanted to take a risk that could be attractive.

There is a certain logic to it. All our recent studies show that the center of gravity of political life has shifted to the right. Barely 30% of French people surveyed recognize themselves on the left today.

Jean-Michel Blanquer renewed: Emmanuel Macron makes "a cross on the teacher vote for 2022", says the deputy secretary general of Snes-FSUhttps: //t.co/CE8KsAbKvP pic.twitter.com/90w4oTtRd0

- franceinfo (@franceinfo) July 7, 2020

However, the health crisis has shown a strong desire for a change in economic paradigm among the French ...

The health crisis has indeed revealed a strong demand for the return of the State, in terms of border protection of course, but also a strong desire for economic protectionism, which practically doubled between March and April, including among supporters macronists. When Jean Castex presents himself as a social Gaullist, it is no coincidence. There is a certain reminiscence of this economic aspect of Gaullism among the French. And that, the advisers of the President of the Republic have certainly understood. But that does not mean that it will correspond to government policy. The chosen profiles still float the idea that the great neoliberal projects of Macronism are not put aside, far from it. The president has not given up on pension reform, for example.

He did not wish to green his end of his five-year term, despite the success of the Greens in the municipal elections. What should we deduce from it?

This is not a cause for concern for the Elysée. I would like it to be said that the environment is neither right nor left, like health, but political ecology is strongly anchored on the left. The municipal elections will allow environmentalists to transform themselves into managers at the local level, but there remains an unsurpassable antagonism between ecological interests - preserving the planet, instituting degrowth - and liberal capitalism defended by macronism. It is not for nothing that the Ministry of the Economy is also that of recovery. In Macronian software, it is difficult for ecology to obtain anything other than an honorary place. Besides, the new Minister of Ecology is rather pale green.

Does this mean that Emmanuel Macron is not afraid of being overwhelmed on his left?

Looking ahead to 2022, the left is not a problem for Macron. It is too divided and does not weigh enough. The same goes for ecology, which will come up against a problem of mass unemployment and a lasting economic crisis. On the other hand, the Republicans, this is what worries him. Much has been said about the success of environmentalists in the big cities, but the real winner of the municipal elections is LR, who won half of the medium-sized cities. It is therefore in its interest to continue to siphon the tank of the Republicans and to prevent the emergence of a credible opponent on the right.

Edouard Philippe could have been that one, because he was popular and he showed his abilities in difficult circumstances, but it will be difficult for him to exist from Le Havre. And then the barons of LR would not see with a good eye that he was knocking on the door of the party he had betrayed.

A new face-to-face with the National Rally in 2022 therefore corresponds to its deep strategy?

In any case, it is the duel that Emmanuel Macron is trying to set up, because it is in a way a game won in advance in times of great economic uncertainty. Facing him, Marine Le Pen will always have trouble convincing of his international dimension and his managerial skills. He will therefore maintain pressure on the right in this direction, playing a bit on the nostalgia for Gaullism, with endearing personalities like Roselyne Bachelot or Dupond-Moretti, who will not overshadow him in 2022.

The only potential risk of this strategy is to encourage abstention, especially that of left voters who will not be fooled a second time. However, by dint of saying that a victory for Marine Le Pen is impossible, with strong abstention, it becomes less and less.


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  • The Republicans
  • Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Roselyne Bachelot
  • Gérald Darmanin
  • Jean Castex
  • Emmanuel Macron