Between the Elysée and Matignon, tensions on the republican front

Emmanuel Macron and Gabriel Attal, during the celebration of the 84th anniversary of the appeal of June 18, 1940, at Mont-Valérien, in Suresnes, in Hauts-de-Seine. LAURENCE GEAI/MYOP FOR “LE MONDE”

The buffet is set up on the terrace of the Elysée. This Sunday, June 30, the evening is cool for a nascent summer. A shiver runs through the fifteen guests, all men, gathered around Emmanuel Macron to follow the results of the first round of the legislative elections. The populist wave that submerged the country during the European elections has turned into a tsunami. The far right has won over more than 10 million voters. “This is not a vote of anger, it is a vote of support”analyzes the head of state. The ” people “, to whom he wanted to give the floor again, amplifies the message sent on June 9. For several days now, the President of the Republic has known that it will be impossible for him to win a solid majority, as he had imagined.

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This dissolution that he presented, on June 24, on the microphone of the podcast “Génération Do It Yourself” as a gesture of ” trust ” towards the French, castigating “the system that thinks people are stupid”turns into a shipwreck of the presidential camp. The National Rally (RN) can win an absolute majority. We must prepare ourselves”warns the senator of Côte-d’Or, François Patriat, sitting around the table. The head of state suggests that he will be able ” manage “.

At 8:01 p.m., the brief press release from the Elysée was sent to editorial offices. “The time has come for a broad, clearly Democratic and Republican gathering for the second round”states the president, leaving ambiguity hanging over the support given to the New Popular Front (NFP) to beat the RN. Will he go so far as to call for voting for “insubordinate” candidates in order to block the extreme right? Mystery.

“There’s too much going on at Matignon”

Ham, cheese and red wine are slowly disappearing. The results, constituency by constituency, are trickling in over the course of a night that is stretching out. Brigitte Macron is just ahead. “I like this one.”comments the first lady on behalf of a candidate, sympathetic to the news of another’s failure. It is just midnight when, forgetting the country in shock, the champagne is brought out. It is the birthday of Richard Ferrand, 62 years old. François Patriat places a kiss on the head of the former president of the National Assembly. We laugh. The latter, offended by the fate reserved for his friend Gilles Le Gendre, whom the Macronist party refused to invest in Paris, cheers up. The Breton even forgives Emmanuel Macron for this crazy dissolution. Like others, he has come to terms with it.

From the left bank of the Seine, there is a refusal to lay down their arms. Gabriel Attal, aided by his communicators, has been trying since June 9 to carve out a stature for himself as a valiant fighter for the extreme right. The head of government, a former socialist, rejects the idea of ​​a transfer of power with Le Pen leader Jordan Bardella, which would tarnish his political destiny. After having fought against ” the extremes “, Placing the RN and LFI on the same level, the thirty-year-old argues that the left-wing alliance no longer has any chance of winning a majority. The existential threat weighing on the Republic is now concentrated on the party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen. Shortly before 10 p.m., the Prime Minister takes up arms against his number one enemy. “Our objective is clear: to prevent the RN from having an absolute majority in the second round,” thunders Gabriel Attal from the steps of Matignon, calling on all the candidates from his camp who came in third place to withdraw in order to thwart the victory of the extreme right.

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