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With his new party, is Edouard Philippe already playing for his apple?

From our journalist in Le Havre,

The launch of a political party is never trivial. Six months before a presidential election, it can cause intense upheavals. Fifteen months after his departure from Matignon, the mayor of Le Havre Edouard Philippe gathered his support this Saturday in his stronghold to launch his movement. Outside the Carré des docks, the seagulls are grabbing what they can from the garbage cans of the day before. Inside, the packed room is growing impatient. We are announcing 3,000 people, 600 local elected officials, 160 mayors, 60 parliamentarians.

“We are on the quay and we are going to embark on this fabulous political adventure”, warms the mayor of Angers Christophe Béchu. Before noon, the former Prime Minister takes the stage, to the cheers. “I want, with you, to build a party, to participate in the construction of a new political offer so that the country we love can go far. It is a fight that we are engaged in, a democratic fight, a fight over the long term. “

“We collectively lack a strategy for 2050”

The mayor of Le Havre has been mounting the pressure for several weeks, offering before Christmas, a nice headache to the presidential majority. A new party, but for what? Help Emmanuel Macron or start his own destiny? In an interview with Challenges at the end of September, the former tenant of Matignon had muddied the waters by standing out from the head of state. His plea for a postponement of retirement to 67 years and his “alert” on the public debt had annoyed more than one. So, in the first row, this Saturday, the three musketeers of the macronie are watching. Even if when they arrived, the bosses of the majority groups in the Assembly, Patrick Mignola (MoDem), Olivier Becht (Agir), and Christophe Castaner (LREM), tried to lower the tension. “It is in the collective that we will continue to work,” said the latter.

The musketeers of the presidential majority demine before the meeting of Edouard Philippe. – TLG / 20minutes

On stage, Edouard Philippe finely maintains the ambiguity of his intentions, evokes the “four vertigo” which affect the country: demography, the environment, the awakening of China and technology. “We collectively lack a strategy for 2050, what I would like to do, with you, is to build this strategy”, he explains. Very comfortable, the juppeist multiplies the right words, in a tone that is sometimes professorial.

He returns, too, on his outings having tense the walkers. Debt, to which he adds security. Either the main angles of attack of the opponents to the right of Emmanuel Macron. “When I say that we must put our accounts and our streets in order, I am not criticizing the president,” he said, however. Same subtle game when he talks about pensions. “What would seem unheard of to me is that we do not address this issue in the presidential election. “

A struggle for influence for the 2022 legislative elections?

“Once we’ve said that, what do we do?” We’re making a party, ”he finally says, after a good hour. Sleepy people prick up their ears. The name of the movement is revealed on the screen behind it: Horizons. “My goal is to ensure that in 2022, Emmanuel Macron is re-elected. The marchers huff. “This re-election is far from being won in advance,” he continues, “and will require a broadening of his electoral base. This is the other fear of LREM and its allies: the emergence of a new party at the center raises fears of a fragmentation of the macronie and a future struggle for influence, especially for the legislative elections.

“Edouard Philippe is useful to expand our camp to those who were not behind us in 2017”, sweeps the LREM deputy Aurore Bergé at the end of the meeting. “In politics, we always make the trial of opportunism and personal trajectories. But Edouard Philippe recalled his loyalty to the president, he still has a lot to contribute, ”adds his colleague from Loiret, Caroline Janvier.

It is difficult today to know the intentions of the most popular politician in France. Christophe Béchu, appointed secretary general of Horizons, assumes: “The creation of a political formation does not have as its sole objective the presidential election 2022. We can be useful for the re-election of Emmanuel Macron in the short term, but also on the long term, to meet the challenges facing the country by 2050 ”. Support the president and compete with the majority. Loyalty, but already preparing for the aftermath. Another definition of “at the same time” dear to macronists.

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