As the shift approaches, the dilemma of Édouard Philippe

A major government muffling should take place before the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, July 8. Will Emmanuel Macron retain Edouard Philippe as prime minister? The issue is sensitive, because the head of government has made himself necessary.

A change, yes, but with or without Edouard Philippe at the head of the future government? Emmanuel Macron, who will have his prime minister’s dinner on Wednesday, July 1, has already pondered for weeks and despite the problem turning upside down, no solution seems to be enforcing.

He who wants to strengthen ecology and social issues strongly during the last two years of his quinquent is struggling to convince. Changing the prime minister to mark a clear and clean interruption may seem obvious. Except that Emmanuel Macron after three years full of crises today can hardly do without Edouard Philippe.

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How would you actually dismiss a man who, during a disastrous election night for La République en Marche (LREM), was re-elected as mayor of Le Havre with 58.83% of the vote? And how to replace it when 55% of French people want it to continue their operations in the head of government, according to a Harris Interactive survey published June 28?

After more than three months of health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, a majority of French people give credit to Édouard Philippe for his leadership. “He gives the feeling of being a teacher, of taking time, of being quite attentive, while seeking as much as possible to share with the French in the way he reflected,” analyzes Jean-Daniel Lévy, Head of Harris Interactive, Department of Politics and Opinions, contacted by France 24.

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“As always with a prime minister, his popularity is also explained in reverse by what may be Emmanuel Macron, the pollist adds. But during the crisis, and unlike Edouard Philippe, the president could give the impression” sometimes being removed from the reality of the French and rather had a top-down communication. “

Prime Minister appreciated by his majority

Édouard Philippe is very aware of the state’s functioning and the coordination between the executive and parliament and also knows how to navigate within institutions he knows outside. Unlike some of his predecessors, he held his majority relatively well in the National Assembly and was able to wager crises without ever losing the confidence of his deputies. The LREM group has really suffered from departures since 2017 and lost in May especially the absolute majority of the Palais Bourbon, but always because of political differences and not because of personal disputes.

“Édouard Philippe has a very good image with the majority members,” confirms Sonia Krimi, LREM deputy from La Manche, contacted by France 24. There may sometimes be political differences, but you will find few elected officials to say bad things about him or his work. “

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This close friend of Alain Juppé praises for his discretion, his listening ability and his loyalty to the President of the Republic. The majority members also appreciate that he does not intervene in the leadership of their group in the National Assembly.

Finally, they recognize his ability to cope as a crisis. “Whether it was during the health crisis, during the strike months against pension reform or during the yellow west crisis, Édouard Philippe always knew how to stay calm,” emphasizes Sonia Krimi.

Who allowed the division of the right

But in addition to his very real qualities and his popularity with the French, Édouard Philippe has become indispensable to Emmanuel Macron as he is the one through which the right-wing division came. By appointing him to Matignon in the spring of 2017 and letting him lead a center-right politics, the head of state brought him all moderate fringes from the Les Républicains party, including Bruno Le Maire, Gérald Darmanin, Franck Riester, Sébastien Lecornu or even Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne is government representatives.

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At the same time, LR curved with Laurent Wauquiez in the lead for himself, until the debate at the 2019 European elections, where the list led by François-Xavier Bellamy could only get 8.48% of the vote.

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron, who took center stage in 2017 but has led a qualified right-wing policy for three years, is therefore also due to Edouard Philippe’s detention. The latter really ensures the support of some of the right-wing voters: 71% of LR sympathizers have a favorable view of the prime minister, according to an ifop survey published June 22 in the Journal du Dimanche.