Édouard Philippe or the shadow strategy
Secretly in the media, the former Prime Minister, who hopes to become Emmanuel Macron’s successor, is traversing the region and flirting with local elected officials. He is trying to make a mark and to differentiate himself from the current President.
We don’t see it in the national media anymore. When he traveled to France, the local press rarely heard of him… but his relatives kept talking about him. If Édouard Philippe is wise, his shadow, sketched by good-natured friends, floats permanently. To be there without being, a strategy the mayor of Le Havre has assumed considering the year 2027.
“He cannot disappear, but neither can he show overly assertive ambitions which show that these ambitions are more valuable than the fate of the country”, tried to explain one of his relatives who realized his predicament: “We are in a rhythm which is a very, very false flat. long. Things will only accelerate for him after Europe and the Olympics in 2024″.
Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister is working on his image by proxy. “Thanks to Macron punching him in the face from morning to night, he demacronized, which is perfect for him. He did like Sarko with Chirac in 2002”, assures us one of his friends who remains with LR. “That he wants to set himself apart, that’s for sure, but to say that he did Sarko, there are limits. I had lunch this week with the former President, I can tell you it’s not the same. Édouard is loyal”, smiled another admitting that the former Prime Minister wanted “to highlight his personal travels which have allowed him to rely on local elected officials, which the President has not done”.
Like the negative Emmanuel Macron, Édouard Philippe is obsessed with territory. For months, she has traversed the country and courted local elected officials. In his office, an entire piece of furniture is devoted to medals of the cities he has visited, “as if he ticked a box,” the smile of a frequent strategist. “When I return to the atmosphere, I will tour the sub-prefectures,” he assured himself. “The campaign is a doubling of logistics points in the region. He will go to Landes where we are holding the town halls of Mont-de-Marsan and Dax. We are also in the process of properly organizing Bordeaux. We need bases, city halls, elected officials”, assured mayor of Horizons.
In Occitania, on Christmas Eve, seven Republicans elected from the regional council decided to leave the group chaired by Aurélien Pradié. First step towards rallying? A few days earlier, with the other mayors of Hérault, one of them, Stéphan Rossignol, had participated in breakfast with Édouard Philippe. But for the elect, this is not a reason for us to draw conclusions. “Édouard Philippe is a friend, and it is in this capacity that I participate in this breakfast. I listen to him, I ask him questions, but I am far from convinced.” The deputy mayor of Toulouse, Laurence Arribagé, took the plunge and led Horizons in Haute-Garonne. As for Jean-Luc Moudenc, who left LR and appeared this summer alongside the former Prime Minister, “he hasn’t picked up the cards yet, but that doesn’t bother me… I respect the rhythm”, giving us a snapshot of Horizon.
Renaissance target in scenery
Local councilors weren’t Édouard Philippe’s only target. It also weaves its net on a national level. He hopes to win over elected officials at the Luxembourg Palace during the next senatorial election in September. But the former tenant of Matignon aims higher: “I want Gérard Larcher to support Edouard in his trajectory, this is important”, a relative reassured us who added: “Actually, I am working on the rapprochement of the president from the two chambers to Édouard Philippe”. In the view of headhunter Horizons: Yael Braun-Pivet. “He could be a major asset in the Edouard team, especially since his relationship with Renaissance is complicated,” added the same.
The Mayor of Le Havre is also interested in some members of the government such as Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor, who Élisabeth Borne recently usurped from the pension reform, or Olivier Klein, Minister of Towns. Both are from PS, as is Yael Braun-Pivet. This signing will soften the obviously righteous image of the Horizons boss by keeping to the idea of retiring at age 67.
For the rest, relatives are sure: everything will happen with time. “In 4 years, convince us of any of them, those who want to remain as deputies will automatically switch to whoever can make them win. Was it Édouard? It’s impossible to say today .” But he is working on it, using his charm, and little by little Horizons, which will hold its Congress on March 25 at Parc Floral in Paris, is growing. According to one adviser, “at first, people thought about talking to Alain Juppé and they quickly found Édouard and his humor”. “I went to Le Havre, at his invitation, supposedly to find his city police, we had a two hour lunch and it was great”, confirmed an LR representative.
Remaining a taboo topic, which no one dared to mention publicly in the former Prime Minister’s entourage: his alopecia. He spoke about it during an interview at Le Point: “Eyebrows have fallen out, they won’t come back. Hair is falling out, I’m not sure it will grow back. Beards will eventually fall out,” he explained adding: “A politician prefers to talk about ideas than hair!”
“Édouard has always been worried about his physique, so he shouldn’t take it too well and for sure this will change his image with France. He has to accompany this”, assured us this week a representative for Horizons. But it’s hard, for now, to appreciate the effect her new face has in France when she rarely appears on television. Shadow strategy carried out to the limit.