He was already there, two years earlier, sitting in the same place in his town hall in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime). Except that Édouard Philippe at the time sported black hair and a beard still provided. The eyebrows, too, have fallen since his first appearance in Seven to Eight. In the second portrait dedicated to him in the program broadcast this Sunday on TF1, the former prime minister spoke about the two autoimmune diseases - alopecia and vitiligo - which changed his physical appearance.
"Now it's over. Normally it will no longer move,” he assured, despite the visible symptoms that he took care to describe. Since he communicated about his state of health, the former head of government has always wanted to play down these white spots which nibble at his skin. “It doesn't matter, it has no seriousness (...) I invite anyone who doubts it to come and box with me,” said the fifty-year-old, facing journalist Audrey Crespo -Mara.
There is no curb on his political ambitions either. “That does not prevent me from continuing to think, to speak, to laugh, to seduce perhaps. It doesn’t change anything,” he insisted. And to ironize: "I used to say that if the French think that it is imperative that the candidates for the elections have long hair, I have no chance." For the time being, the boss of Horizons can boast of having been designated in a recent OpinionWay survey as the most capable of uniting the right and the center in 2027. Good news very quickly put into perspective by Édouard Philippe, who calls on the memory of his mentor: "When we worked with Alain Juppé, we know the value that we must give to the predictive nature of the polls: it is almost zero value."
It is with the same reservation that the former prime minister approaches his relations, sometimes described as tense, with Emmanuel Macron. “He is the President of the Republic, I am the president of a political party. I try to make my country better,” he said. During a walkabout in New Caledonia in July, the Head of State had nevertheless called him a "friend", even opening the way for his fellow travelers, including Édouard Philippe, to "take the relay” in 2027.
“When you have a president and a prime minister, their relations are not placed on the register of friendship,” initially tempered the councilor of Le Havre. And to continue, a bit more cheerful: “When we see each other, we always have good times. I was happy that he said it and meant it.” The former host of Matignon seems in any case to gradually lift the veil on his presidential desires. “The vocation of a political party is to conquer power democratically,” bluntly recognized the president of Horizons, which has 20,000 members. Before brushing aside with a simple “we’ll see” his possible candidacy in 2027. “Those who tell you that they never think about it are telling you crap,” he retorted when mentioning the race for the Elysee.
However, Édouard Philippe prefers for the moment to play the overhang card. The one who has rarefied his words is careful not to comment publicly on the action of the government that he left in July 2020. The former member of the UMP nevertheless welcomed the “healthy” decision of the Minister of National Education , Gabriel Attal, to ban the abaya in schools. “It’s a debate that was settled in 2004 by Jacques Chirac, when we asked ourselves whether we allowed the veil at school,” he recalled. The abaya is such a distinctive sign that fits into this logic.” In his latest book Places That Say (Ed. JC Lattès), which is due to be published on September 13, the politician even expresses his “concern in the face of evil obscurantism”.
As the immigration bill approaches, which must be debated in Parliament in the fall, Édouard Philippe also affirmed that he would “support” the measures taken by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. First and foremost, all those making it possible to “simplify procedures” and judge appeals “more quickly”. As he had already expressed in L'Express last June, the former Prime Minister again called for a review of "the 1968 agreement between France and Algeria" which regulates movement, employment and residence. Algerian nationals in France. "The migratory pressure is part of a totally different logic from that of the time, I do not believe that the justifications are always appropriate", he pleaded.