His “major political initiative” has lost its scope. Returning this Friday morning to the old loyal abbey of Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), for a third summit with party leaders devoted in particular to the international situation and institutions, Emmanuel Macron is preparing to face several boycotts . Neither the leader of the Republicans (LR) Éric Ciotti nor that of the Socialist Party (PS), Olivier Faure, will be present. No more than the rebel Manuel Bompard.
In private as during his state visit to Switzerland, the President of the Republic was annoyed by these defections. He knows that they threaten his operation, although it was deemed successful after the full twelve hours of discussions held on August 30. Addressing those absent, he denounced on Wednesday a “major political mistake”. “Using the context we are experiencing to justify an absence from a working meeting on constitutional reforms is absolutely unworthy of a political leader,” he declared during a press conference from Berne. . A few hours earlier, behind closed doors at the Council of Ministers, he had already sharply reprimanded the LR and the PS, “who claim to be government parties”. According to him, “they are the ones who allow the face-to-face situation to take place with the RN”.
Also read: Guillaume Tabard: “The Saint-Denis spirit has flown away”
The head of state is particularly targeting Éric Ciotti, the last to have surprised him with his announced boycott. After maintaining uncertainty around his participation, the boss of LR deplored Tuesday in Le Figaro an “umpteenth communication approach”. The absence of Emmanuel Macron on Sunday at the demonstration against anti-Semitism, he said, finally “convinced” him. “My role is not to take a march,” the head of state retorted on Wednesday, putting forward his “personal commitment” against “all forms of anti-Semitism” and his concern to “preserve” “unity.” from the country".
This “unity”, which he called for earlier in his invitation letter to the Saint-Denis Meetings, is now in danger. Just like the reforms of the Constitution and the new stage of decentralization, on which Emmanuel Macron proposed to his partners. At the center of the discussions must be the broadening of the scope of the referendum to “social issues” such as the end of life and immigration. A signal launched in vain to the LRs, in the middle of a debate on the immigration bill. What Olivier Faure does not wish to “endorse” by participating in a “staged”, he wrote Thursday in response to Emmanuel Macron.
First surprised by the strong reaction of the tenant of the Élysée to his defection, Éric Ciotti also took on his standoff. He considers himself reassured in his choice. “The disproportionate reaction of the President of the Republic reveals his feverishness. “It can hardly be surprising at our desire not to be involved in yet another communication stunt,” judges Olivier Marleix, the leader of the LR deputies.
Like him, 61% of French people see Friday's meeting as a “useless communication operation which will bring nothing concrete”, according to an Odoxa-Backbone Consulting survey for Le Figaro. But a narrow majority of them (51%) believe that those absent are “wrong” not to respond to the invitation.
To justify the absence of Éric Ciotti, the LR staff also expresses its astonishment after the recent reception by advisors of the Élysée of the comedian Yassine Belattar, sentenced to 4 months in prison suspended for threats of dead. Just like the fear of new riots, with no real response after the violence in July.
Two weeks before the arrival of the text on immigration to the National Assembly, the LR want to send a message: “Everything cannot be one-way.” On its proposed constitutional law, which plans to exempt France from European law on migration issues, they are waiting for a clear answer. And impose this prerequisite before any discussion.
At the Élysée, we criticize “fairly incomprehensible political calculations”. And we attack Eric Ciotti’s troops: “Imagine if we really decide to broaden the scope of the referendum: will it be done without those who ask for it?” “The empty chair policy is lethal for oppositions,” believes a member of Renaissance management.
Should we see this as a first break between Éric Ciotti and Emmanuel Macron? “It takes two to make a break,” asserts a tenor from LR. If the president finds himself in a situation where half of the participants are absent, he is primarily responsible.” At a meeting of LR deputies on Tuesday, Éric Ciotti was applauded when his decision was announced. Even if some have hardly hidden their disagreement: “I believe that when there are opportunities for dialogue, we must never refuse them,” said the president of Hauts-de-France, Xavier Bertrand, on France 2. “We can’t have Gérard Larcher (the LR president of the Senate) going there and Éric Ciotti not going.”
Also read: Éric Ciotti: “This text on immigration will not reverse the major trends”
To this, the boss of the right has already responded to Le Figaro: “The President of the Senate is in his institutional role.” However, a manager specifies: “The presence of a prominent member of the Republicans shows that we are not in a clear refusal of dialogue with the president.”
Those who plan to dialogue with Emmanuel Macron intend to benefit from it. The leader of the Greens, Marine Tondelier, is pleased to have “more time to talk about ecology”, explains those around her: “We did not want to leave the president alone facing Jordan Bardella.” The lepéniste, wishing to play the role of the first opponent, wishes to alert him to the “dislocation of the country”. Invited for the first time to this meeting, the radical left Guillaume Lacroix wants to mark his difference with the LR and his former socialist allies: “When we are at the head of a Republican party, we are going to see the President of the Republic."