In her editorial for this Wednesday, January 26, Eugénie Bastié, journalist at Figaro, evokes the “campaign” of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, who has still not declared himself a candidate for his possible re-election.
He “still has a lot of things to do” he replied when a journalist asked him for the thousandth time the question of his candidacy during a trip to Creuse. We are 70 days away from the presidential election, and he can declare himself at any time. “You know neither the day nor the hour” said like Christ the one who at the beginning of his five-year term wanted at all costs to remain the “master of the clocks”.
Opponents have a good time complaining about the speaking time and the money of the campaign, the precedents of outgoing president plead for him: de Gaulle in 1965 had declared himself a month before the first round, Giscard d’Estaing in 1974 55 days before, Mitterrand, 1988 32 days before the first round (a record), Jacques Chirac in 2002 69 days before and Nicolas Sarkozy 67.
The trouble is that the art of dodging does not only concern the date of the application, but also the substance of the subjects. The Covid crisis has allowed him to gain time, to crush all other debates by installing the false divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated which he knows he will benefit from. The presidency of the Council of the EU is another opportunity for him to avoid national subjects. Emmanuel Macron takes care not to enter the dance, while responding from time to time to the candidates of the right, as on the question of security or inheritance. From a strategic point of view, this is conceivable, from a democratic point of view, it is problematic.
No televised debates, a good strategy?
Consequences of the progression of news channels continues, the debates between candidates before the first round of the presidential election have only existed since the 2017 presidential election, where François Hollande was not a candidate… the exercise would therefore be unprecedented for an outgoing president , and Emmanuel Macron does not want to risk it.
He is not comfortable in the debates with several: in 2017 he even seized the CSA to have the third debate before the first round canceled scheduled by France 2, which had been deleted “We (the candidates) have something else to do than to run from channel to channel to multiply the debates at eleven”, he had declared. Today, this refusal of the debate is presented as a desire to appear above the fray, but it is above all in reality the fear of facing candidates like Valérie Pécresse or Eric Zemmour, whose competence and public speaking will make it harder to beat than Marine Le Pen.
He will be the target of all criticism. To shirk it would not make him appear as a vertical but fleeing president. At a time when abstention promises to be the real scourge of the presidential election, it would be Emmanuel Macron’s duty to enter the campaign as soon as possible and participate in the great national conversation on the destiny of the France that is the presidential.