Failing to have a head of list for the European elections, the Macron camp is accelerating its maneuvers behind the scenes. Monday evening, the head of state's formation, Renaissance, adopted a series of principles in view of the June 9 election. Among them, the installation of a national investiture commission by the end of the year, the launch of a call for applications as well as the establishment of a membership campaign and a consultation of activists on Europe. “We put gasoline in the tank, but we have not yet started the engine,” summarizes Renaissance spokesperson Loïc Signor.
The Macronist general staff wishes to occupy the space, while awaiting the appointment of a leader. Not before 2024, decided Emmanuel Macron. “The time has come,” Élisabeth Borne said on France Inter on Monday. Unable to boast the profile of a leader of the list, the Prime Minister defended the line repeated over and over in her ranks: “Renaissance will be the only clearly pro-European bulletin”. Against a National Rally (RN) “favorite” of the election, the presidential party must mobilize “right now”, she insisted Monday evening in front of her executive office.
The head of Renaissance, Stéphane Séjourné, intends to convey this message more and more strongly as the election draws closer. While justifying taking your time compared to the left-wing parties, the RN and Reconquête!, which already have heads of list. “I do not want to fall into the trap of oppositions, which is to talk about national subjects eight months before” the election, explains the boss of the Renew group in the European Parliament, cited as a potential leader of the list, just like the European commissioner at the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.
This timetable is, however, considered too late by several members of Renaissance, such as MEP Bernard Guetta and Gérald Darmanin. The Minister of the Interior is calling for a start in the campaign by the end of the year. “The Europeans must be the key to our battle,” he says privately. This is our midterms election. It allows us to position ourselves head-on with the RN and give momentum to the president.”
Between now and the end of the year, the leaders of the three majority parties, Stéphane Séjourné, François Bayrou and Édouard Philippe, must discuss this deadline. It is up to them and their delegates - Franck Riester, Marc Fesneau and Pierre-Yves Bournazel - to distribute quotas of places, among the twenty candidates deemed eligible on a list of 81 names. Then, each formation will have to present the profile of its contenders. “We have to find a point of balance,” says the vice-president of MoDem, Marc Fesneau, also Minister of Agriculture.
The majority's strategists will have to dispel several questions: “Will those leaving be automatically reappointed? What place should be given to new people? What is the balance of power in the majority?”, lists one of them. A perilous exercise in perspective: most of the 23 outgoing elected officials would like to run for succession, the appetites of the Horizons philippists are whetting and an alliance with the centrists of the UDI is being considered.
It is also about speaking to the core target of the pro-European electorate and responding as a priority to the RN, we judge internally. Way to convince pro-Macron voters as a priority, rather than trying to delight them again. This election is first and foremost a “mobilization election”, recalls MEP (Horizons) Gilles Boyer.
Off the microphone, several senior members of the majority are worried about seeing themselves left behind by the RN on the evening of June 9. In a recent Ifop-Fiducial poll for Le Figaro and Sud Radio, Stéphane Séjourné and Thierry Breton were each credited with 20% of voting intentions, 8 points behind lepéniste Jordan Bardella (28%). At this stage, “we are not on a logic of voting sanction”, observes the general director of Ifop, Frédéric Dabi.
But the Macronists dream of rising higher. In 2019, with 22.42% of the votes, they followed the RN (23.34%), but ultimately obtained the same number of elected officials. This time, the project is more ambitious, according to Édouard Philippe on September 15 in Angers (Maine-et-Loire): “Our objective must be to win these European elections.”