Edouard Philippe loves election campaigns almost as much as boxing. But that morning, during his training session, “He took a good one”. A few hours before joining Etaples-sur-Mer, a small town adjoining Le Touquet (Pas-de-Calais), in Hauts-de-France, to animate, this Saturday March 19, a mobilization meeting for the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, the former Prime Minister had his mind elsewhere. And, in a metaphor of which he has the secret, the mayor of Le Havre, ex-member of the Les Républicains (LR) party, explains to the audience, hilarious, that in politics, as in boxing, when you think of something else or that we are too sure of ourselves, “we take a right and sometimes a left”.
On the walls are spread campaign posters showing the face of Emmanuel Macron accompanied by the slogan “with you”. But the candidate is not there. Captured by an agenda described by those close to him as “demonic”, because of the war in Ukraine, the Head of State can only rarely leave the Elysée Palace. The candidate for re-election therefore leads a campaign reduced to a minimum and from a distance. In Marseille, where he was to go a week earlier, the activists had to content themselves with a video excusing this presidential absence, while Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman, played the doubles in front of four hundred people alongside the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin. Less than three weeks before the first round, the president who entered the campaign late is the big favorite in the ballot. But charge his lieutenants to campaign to maintain this lead.
After Thionville (Moselle) and Nancy, and before Nice, Wednesday March 23 for a meeting alongside ministers (Roselyne Bachelot, Olivier Véran) and elected officials like Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, Edouard Philippe therefore came to Etaples- sur-Mer to praise the candidate’s program and glean, in passing, some support for his Horizons party. The former tenant of Matignon did not force himself. Stages, “It’s not far from Le Havre”and if there could have been moments of coldness with Emmanuel Macron, his ideas are “consistent” with his, he explains. “People probably preferred to see the president than the mayor of Le Havre, but they seemed happy”, he observes. In front of some two hundred people gathered that day, “Edouard”, as he wants to be called, won over the audience. A warm-up? “Maybe in five years it will be his turn”thinks Hervé Lassalle, local activist.
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