“If François Bayrou has tried so hard to change the government line, it is because there is danger ahead”

IThere are two ways of interpreting the bloodshed by François Bayrou which caused, on Wednesday February 7, quite a disorder in Macronie before being reduced to the level of a simple wavelet since four MoDem ministers finally belong to the second government of Gabriel Attal.

The first interpretation is part of the course of history: Bayrou made Bayrou. The centrist showed himself to be indocile and rebellious as in 2002 when, president of the UDF, he refused to join the UMP, as in 2006 when he decided to vote on the motion of censure tabled by the Socialist Party against Dominique de Villepin, as in 2012 when he helped François Hollande to be elected President of the Republic rather than supporting Nicolas Sarkozy.

With his eye fixed on 2027, the one who, at 72 years old, has given up nothing has taken yet another step aside. He dissociated himself from the recent choices of Emmanuel Macron, the president whose election he ensured in 2017, by judging them to not conform to his conception of the central space that he helped to forge by running three times for the presidential election. To summarize the content of his grievances, he felt that the line embodied by the too young Gabriel Attal leaned too far to the right and gave too much emphasis to this “managerial technocracy” embodied at the Elysée by the irremovable secretary general, Alexis Kohler, who has become his bête noire.

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The second interpretation cannot ignore the circumstances. If François Bayrou, leaving the Paris court, which pronounced his acquittal, on February 5, in the case of the alleged fictitious jobs of the MoDem (with however a call from the prosecution), has tried so hard to influence the government line, it is because there is danger at hand.

The same week, an IFOP survey appeared in Current values highlighted the high level of Marine Le Pen in the voting intention polls. If the first round of the presidential election took place today, the candidate would obtain 36% of the votes, seven points more than in March 2023, the day after the unpopular pension reform.

Not followed by his troops

All the criticisms made by François Bayrou against a government “too Parisian”, “too technocratic”all his injunctions to try to “reconcile France which fights at the bottom and that which decides at the top” are in resonance with the sociological and geographical breaks proven by the survey: the face-to-face majority is dominant among highly educated, Parisian, well-off, elderly voters. Marine Le Pen is increasingly gaining the advantage among the active, the popular and intermediate categories, the provinces and the rural world. The divide has become so caricatured that it was not unusual for a cry of alarm to be raised four months before the European elections.

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