You wrote a letter to the Prime Minister after several days of violence in Dijon. What are you asking him?
Edouard Philippe’s silence rings out like an admission of guilty helplessness that seriously endangers public order. The situation is extremely serious and we are witnessing a collective resignation of the government in the face of organized crime and thugs. We have a government that disarms, literally and figuratively, its police, while we must provide our security forces with unfailing support. We cannot bring ourselves to see the values of the Republic flouted and public authority trampled on. The responsibility for what is happening lies with Emmanuel Macron and Édouard Philippe. We need to put a pilot back on the plane and apply strong measures, in particular the expulsion of the foreigners who are behind these abuses and the suspension of social assistance for the troublemakers. The Prime Minister, rather than taking care of his campaign in Le Havre, had better take care of his government and be in Matignon.
How did you receive the speech by Emmanuel Macron who spoke of a “new path”?
Emmanuel Macron is surely the only one to ignore it, but, as far as reforms are concerned, his five-year term is over. The reforms that he was not able to make in three years before the Covid, he is not going to make them in 18 months! The results are distressing, it is reduced to restlessness. He has lost the confidence of the French, his majority is shattered, his government is at the end of its rope and its results are catastrophic. In 2019, the conduct of economic policy led by Emmanuel Macron and Édouard Philippe results in the worst deficit in the euro zone, the worst trade deficit in Europe and one of the worst growth rates, historically high debt with a rate debt greater than 100%, and the European record for compulsory levies. This is the policy pursued as an extension of that of François Hollande by Emmanuel Macron. When the President of the Republic tells us about a new course, let him already be able to give one to his majority! How could he act now? It has reached an impasse.
Emmanuel Macron speaks of “national harmony”. Don’t you fear the poaching of elected LRs, as in 2017?
Who will ride the Titanic when it is sinking?
The head of state is thinking of shifting regional to 2022, as Le Figaro revealed. What do you think ?
Elections are a democratic meeting with the people, not the prince. It can’t be Mr. Macron who, on a political opportunity, decides to postpone the regional tomorrow, and why not, as long as we are there, the day after tomorrow, announcing that he postpones the presidential elections?
Should we go towards a territorial reorganization?
Of course ! But there is nothing new in what Emmanuel Macron says. That speech, he made it many times. Why would we believe it more today than yesterday?
LR is organizing a working seminar on Friday. You will cut the party line?
From the start, I have emphasized one point: the importance of collective work. I did not want to entrust the preparation of the project to one person, as was usually done. We organized around fifteen thematic forums, whether on sovereign subjects, the economy, social issues, education. Since February, more than 80 meetings have been held, video or face-to-face, with a hundred experts from civil society. Friday, the whole management team will meet to reflect, together on the economy, growth, ecology, the social elevator, social dialogue. But also the questions of sovereignty, distribution of competences between the State, the territorial collectivities, Europe. At the end of the forums, we will prepare a first progress report before July 14. This background work will be sent to each of the departmental federations. It will not be a program with tied propositions. It doesn’t make sense twenty months before the presidential election. Let’s take it step by step. Another important meeting, that of youth on August 28 and 29 with four round tables and above all a lot of debates: Europe, ecology and economy; democracy 2.0; territorial fractures and the unity of the Republic. Then, all this will lead to our congress of ideas, which we have postponed, due to the health crisis, to November. It will activate these different lines of work and this will allow us to embark on the second stage, that of the preparation of the project which will culminate in the summer of 2021.
Un congress in November, so … in the fall, when François Baroin must unveil his intention to be or not a presidential candidate.
The time for incarnation will come, but it is not today. I strongly believe in the strength of the collective. If it only took one incarnation to solve all the evils of the right, it would be known! We have had sufficiently talented personalities in the past in our political family. We can see that the answer is not there. In this period of reconstruction, one must show modesty and humility, and tackle the work of ideas. Then everyone knows what I think. François Baroin has, from my point of view, all human qualities, skills, experience, grounding, temperament. But it is a personal decision, which is up to him. Let’s not reverse it. You have to do some substantive work first. Let’s stop believing that having a candidate two years before is enough to win the election.
Each new party president launches a work of ideas … before his successor does too. Why would it work better there?
This is the first time that collective work of this magnitude has been organized, especially with forums. Before, the project was entrusted to a parliamentarian. We have chosen to involve all local elected representatives and parliamentarians, as well as representatives of civil society.
Should we conduct ethnic statistics as advocated, in LR, Julien Aubert?
I know a number of my friends support it. I have always been careful on this subject. I am attached to the one and indivisible Republic. When we go back to the logic of ethnic statistics, I say be careful not to fall into communitarianism with the model of an American society which does not at all correspond to ours.
The second round of municipal elections takes place on June 28. Are you confident?
Let’s look at the facts: in the first round, in cities with more than 9,000 inhabitants, more than 56% were won by the Republicans or their allies. In cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, we are at 70%. The second round always reveals its share of surprises, however, the results of the first round lead us to be confident.
In Paris, is it still winnable?
Yes. No one today can seriously think that Agnes Buzyn can be mayor of Paris. To start with it. The challenge for Parisians is to elect a mayor. Either they are satisfied with Ms. Hidalgo’s management, or they are not. So the only alternative project is that of Rachida Dati. I call on Parisians to rally around its lists.
Do you fear a defeat in Marseille? A preliminary investigation has been opened into possible proxy fraud in candidate LR’s team.
I can see the political use made of it, but I give my full support and my confidence to Martine Vassal. To my knowledge, there is no fault.
Another thorny issue: Lyon. Didn’t the former president of LR Laurent Wauquiez complicate your task by reaching an agreement with Gérard Collomb, then LREM, for the city and the metropolis?
Let’s bring things back to what they are. Out of 273 cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, there are 6 cities where there was an agreement, including 3 for which LREM has withdrawn its nomination. There, it is not Laurent Wauquiez who is a candidate; it’s all the elected representatives of the Métropole de Lyon who are gathering around our candidate François-Noël Buffet against the Greens and the far left.