A power hampered by the “technos”? The idea seems to be shared by a large part of the political field, including in Macronie, where the deputy Gilles Le Gendre recently lamented to Le Monde “the weight of bureaucracy”. But it is on the right, above all, that the subject is wielded as a weapon aimed at the government. Barely since its setback in 2017, the Republicans party claims to be the champion of “common sense” and “territory”, facing an executive accused of embodying the worst of a rigid and “disconnected” technocracy.
Number 2 of the right-wing party, Guillaume Peltier exposes to Liberation a series of personal proposals, supposed to bring in line the great bodies of the State. These leads are also those of someone close to Xavier Bertrand, president of Hauts-de-France and almost declared candidate for the 2022 presidential election, who, Peltier assures us, “listened carefully” to this anti-tech program.
The health crisis was, according to you, the great moment of the technocrats?
This crisis marks a culmination of hyperbureaucracy. Our high administration, long admired abroad, has on this occasion become the laughing stock and earn us the title of “Absurdistan”. Examples ? The management of regional health agencies (ARS), attendance gauges in churches, ski resorts without ski lifts, contempt for small businesses deemed “non-essential” … The elected representatives have plus the last word. Law enforcement decrees take months to arrive. We are dealing with a closed and egotistical network of a few high officials who rule far from the people. Faced with the “farmers general”, as Jean-Louis Borloo has nicknamed them, a common sense revolution is needed. Everyone says that the people distrust the elites, but let us not forget that this is because the elites distrust the people.
What do you propose to restore this confidence?
First, an electroshock: a real spoils system[[[[“Spoils system”]after the presidential election. In the United States, the president-elect can dismiss 4,000 senior officials. I therefore propose that in 2022, the new Head of State may, within the first three months of the mandate, dismiss and replace the highest officials of the administrations if they do not commit to serving the general interest and popular sovereignty.
This is a concern already expressed by Emmanuel Macron. Didn’t he replace many prefects this year?
It is true, before his election, Emmanuel Macron made fair observations. Being a member of the system himself, it was hoped that he would learn from it. As we have seen, here revoking the director of an ARS, there promising to abolish the ENA. But today, the record is zero and he has continued to promote technocracy, flanked by a chief of staff, a secretary general of the Elysee and a prime minister from the ENA.
Yet it is the vocation of ENA to train senior officials …
Precisely: their training must be reformed and a merit administration regained through the university. Think of the war school that selects deserving soldiers to make them senior officers. Let us break the mold and generalize to any public official who deserves the possibility of becoming, through a specific competition, a senior civil servant, after training in universities. One could also hope that under the next quinquennium, the government will not count enarque, or better yet, that the high officials called to become ministers will be forced to resign from their original corps.
Isn’t that a demonization of the senior civil service? Enarques, moreover, are few in the current government: 5 out of 44 ministers. Under Chirac, it was over 20%.
For twenty years, almost 60% of ministers have done ENA or Sciences-Po: this figure is far too high. Let us make the resignation of a senior official from his home body compulsory when he becomes a minister or when he leaves for an executive position in a large company. There is an urgent need to put an end to the “irremovable members of the Republic” as Chloé Morin rightly calls them[[[[Director of the Opinion Observatory at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation].
Should we give more space to the representatives of the “territories”?
Certainly. Macronism has widened the gap between Parisian decisions and our territories, dumbfounded at not being associated with them. I therefore propose that at the end of each Council of Ministers a “council of territories” be held, which would oblige the President to meet – and listen to – the President of the Senate, the Presidents of the regions and the representatives of the departments and municipalities. . That’s not all. Since 2017 and the implementation of the non-accumulation of mandates, many parliamentarians no longer have experience of the territories. Tomorrow, I plead for each member to have already exercised a local mandate upstream.
Would that not close the way for many representatives of civil society? You can have things to defend without having been a municipal councilor …
There are around 500,000 municipal councilors in France. Many are also craftsmen, farmers, owners of SMEs, workers … You can have both the experience of “real life” and that of the territories: what better than to defend your convictions first in your town or country. department?
On whose behalf are you making these proposals? Of LR, of yourself, or of Xavier Bertrand, whom you are close to?
They are the result of collective work with parliamentarians. But this is of course, on my part, a contribution to the debate of the future presidential election, more than the unanimous position of my party. I have presented these thoughts and ideas to different personalities. Xavier Bertrand, who did not do ENA, listened attentively, especially since he also embodies this meritocratic journey, he who has experience in the private sector and a local mandate.
Do you want to officially announce, here, your support for the latter for 2022?
The presidential moment has not yet come. Let’s focus first on the solutions we need to provide to the French: the priority is the groundwork. I want to build a popular right, strong on the regal, fair on the economy, capable of speaking to all French people, on the right, on the left and elsewhere. What interests me about Xavier Bertrand is that he is a “doer”, not a “sayer”: with endurance, he ideologically rebuilds this popular right. We therefore have an intellectual proximity. We will see, in 2021, who is best placed to help us win and unite a team for France.
You are, like all the leadership of LR, opposed to a new primary. Senator LR Bruno Retailleau denounces in you a “right from above”, which would like to deprive your sympathizers of a voice …
The LR team comes from the ‘bottom right’, we have been mayors, elected officials, and come from the middle class. May everyone be reassured: Christian Jacob was elected by the militant vote a year ago, he is popular and defends the aspirations of our members, with serenity. He is not the one who will bury internal democracy, since he is coming! There will undoubtedly be a consultation with activists next summer to support our candidate. The form that this will take will be discussed together. Without forgetting anything about the trauma of the 2016 primary, a fiasco in the eyes of the French and our activists.