August 6, 2021

In the North, a foretaste of the presidential battle between Emmanuel Macron and Xavier Bertrand

Some speak of denial, others of feigned indifference. This Monday, June 28, the day after the electoral rout of the presidential party, La République en Marche (LRM), in the regional elections, Emmanuel Macron, de facto, preferred the offensive to the questioning.

Visiting Douai (North), the head of state agreed with those who accuse him of wanting to “step over” the June 20-27 election by turning unambiguously to the upcoming election: the presidential election in 2022. A deadline for which he is preparing alongside his current Prime Minister, Jean Castex. “The local elections do not call for national consequences, and therefore no change of prime minister in the coming months or weeks”, recalled Emmanuel Macron in an interview with the magazine It, published Monday, June 28, showering the hopes of the weekly to see a woman enter Matignon.

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Neither the alert given by the massive abstention from the ballot, nor the slaughter of LRM had a place, Monday, on the site of the car manufacturer Renault, where the Chinese group Envision intends to set up a factory of electric batteries. Before meeting, in the evening in Versailles, more than a hundred business leaders and investors for the Choose France summit praising the attractiveness of the country, the Head of State was there to defend his balance sheet and project into a post-2022 future. “It’s not as if the defeat wasn’t announced. You have to get back on the horse ”, explains a relative of the president.

“We all know what’s behind it”

The terrain, it is true, was propitious for the coming battle. Emmanuel Macron, supported by the Minister for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Franck Riester, in charge of foreign trade and attractiveness, and the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, faced him with one of his declared opponents: Xavier Bertrand. The president of the Hauts-de-France regional council, largely reelected on Sunday and already turned towards his candidacy for the presidential election, was, as a local elected official, invited to the visit.

On his arrival, Mr. Macron could only politely congratulate this rival, who flattered himself that he had pushed back the far right in the region. But the Head of State also saw the opportunity to remind him that, “When we reinvest, we manage to calm a lot of things”. Good thing, the President of the Republic is in the North, a disaster-stricken industrial region, to talk about investments. And when Mr. Bertrand tries to come back to this cursed election for the majority by throwing at the Head of State: “What about abstention? “, “We must all draw the conclusions », replies Emmanuel Macron, giving the feeling of having anticipated the blows.

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