Emmanuel Macron hopes to sign for a season 2. For this new presidential campaign, his communications team has posted campaign clips in the form of a Netflix series entitled “Emmanuel Macron, the candidate”. In “episode 1”, the President of the Republic appears in close-up behind his desk, in a neat staging. He evokes the situation in Ukraine, defends his balance sheet, but does not really outline his program. “By centering everything on Emmanuel Macron, by making him the hero we follow in the pop culture way of Netflix, we put everything on his person and we hide the political project”thus considers Anne-Claire Ruel, expert in political communication and founder of the Instagram account @callpol_.
Since entering the campaign via a letter to the French, released on March 3, Emmanuel Macron has distilled a few measures, but has not yet unveiled his full program. “Patience”, responds the candidate’s team. If all goes well, the detailed project should arrive “next weekend”, according to an executive of La République en Marche. His team rather evokes a deadline of a dozen days. “Everything is so changing with the international agenda and the Ukrainian crisis, it’s impossible to give a date”explains a campaign manager.
If Emmanuel Macron did not enter the campaign by putting the project on the table, it is also for strategic considerations. “There is a question of tempo, the announcement of the program will give rhythm to the campaign, motivation”, explains an LREM executive. In the meantime, the candidate has already drawn, in front of his troops gathered in his campaign headquarters, the outlines of his project by proposing “launch three major projects: one for schools, one for health, one for our institutions” and “four pacts: European, productive, generational and republican”.
Behind these broad guidelines that are not very explicit, he thus evoked the “completion of university autonomy”, “the industrialization of the country to face new challenges” and the objective of making France the first nation “decarbonized in Europe”. The president also began to unveil the first measures in dribs and drabs, during a carefully prepared meeting with French people in Poissy (Yvelines). Rather than large meetings, the candidate will favor this type of format where he answers questions from the public, which illustrates his campaign slogan “With you”. “He is excellent in this exercise, we saw it with the great debate [organisé pendant la crise des gilets jaunes]“welcomes a member of the government.
“He will shell out his proposals as they go along, in an intimate way, during his conversations with the French.”A member of the Republic on the move
In Poissy, he was able to evoke a small fifteen measures. On the purchasing power, he thus wishes to continue the tax cuts with in particular the abolition of the audiovisual license fee. It also proposes the establishment of a food voucher to fight against food insecurity, “a quick measure” to cope with the rise in fuel prices, and the extension of support measures in the face of inflation in gas and electricity prices.
So that “work pays more”, the outgoing president proposes tripling the “Macron bonus”, without charges or taxes. And finally on education issues, Emmanuel Macron wants a reform of the vocational high school, “experiment 30 minutes of sport” daily in the morning in primary school, give the possibility for students to practice computer code from the 5th grade and “more remuneration and more pedagogical freedom for teachers”.
Emmanuel Macron also reserved a few announcements for the program “Face aux Françaises”, organized by LCI and Shewhere he promised, in the event of re-election, to make gender equality once again a “great cause of the quinquennium”. “In this area, we have done a lot, but we are well aware that the work is not finished, because we started from afar”, explains LREM deputy Sacha Houlié. Emmanuel Macron thus proposed to triple the “amount of the fine for sexist offenses”the “creation of a file of perpetrators of domestic violence” or even the creation of a specialized judicial center to take care of women victims of sexist and sexual violence.
The opposition will not fail to point out that all these projects could have been launched during the last five years. “Emmanuel Macron candidate tells us: ‘I will do everything that, president, I have not done.’ But who can still believe it? notably stung the candidate LR Valérie Pécresse. “A lot of things explain that we couldn’t do everything, with obstacles throughout the five-year term. We have to explain transparently what we didn’t manage to do”replies Sacha Houlié, recalling the crisis of “yellow vests” and the Covid-19 crisis.
The reforms that could not be made during the five-year term will therefore be back on the table, starting with the pension reform. In his program, the candidate wants to raise the retirement age to 65 years. The previous project, abandoned due to the health crisis, provided for a “pivotal age” set at 64 years. According to The echoes, the president is considering a new, simpler version, abandoning the idea of retirement by points. The new Macron is therefore moving away from Revolution which he advocated in an essay in 2016.
The candidate’s entourage also evokes the reform of institutions, an area where the balance sheet of the five-year term turns out to be far removed from the initial ambitions (territorial reform, reduction in the number of parliamentarians, proportional dose, etc.). A second five-year term could make it possible to “continue what you have done and do what you haven’t done”summarizes a member of the majority.
“On a lot of things, you have to continue working. On others, you have to have a few simple and clear ideas.”Emmanuel Macron
during his meeting with French people in Poissy
On the method, Emmanuel Macron also wants a change. “I believe that succeeding in moving forward also means associating, including throughout the five-year term and the action, the French women and the French”, launched the president in the campaign in Poissy. In macronist spheres, we are already thinking about a new device halfway between the Ségur de la Santé and the example of the Citizen’s Climate Convention. In order to associate, on a given subject, both citizens and players in the sector concerned. “This participatory democracy could be used to reflect, for example, on the question of the end of life”says an LREM deputy.
Even if he relies on his balance sheet, Emmanuel Macron will therefore seek to reinvent himself. Five years ago, to win, the former Minister of the Economy had bet on disruption, overcoming the left-right divide, the modernization of France. The president-candidate does not intend to deny his DNA, but he will also be able to bet on the continuity of his action and put on the costume of the father of the Nation who protects the French in the face of multiple crises. “Continuity is not the end of reforms”, warns his team. The President thus wishes to make proposals “disruptive” every time he puts on his candidate cap, like the abolition of the audiovisual license fee.
By remaining president “until the last quarter of an hour”according to his formula, Emmanuel Macron will have to juggle between four agendas, explains his campaign team: “That of President of the Republic, that of Chief of the Armed Forces, that of President of the Council of the European Union and finally that of candidate”.
“I will be president (…) as much as I have to, but I will be a candidate whenever I can.”Emmanuel Macron
during his meeting with French people in Poissy
With the Ukrainian crisis, the outgoing president, who entered the campaign at the last moment, now seems to want to place himself above the fray. He has already announced that he will not participate in any debate with the other candidates before the first round. “Out of 120 minutes of debate, there would be 110 minutes against Macron and he would have 10 minutes to respond, it would be unbalanced”justifies those around him. “He cannot discuss with Poutine, then immediately afterwards with Poutou”slips Renaud Muselier, the president of the Paca region, who has just joined the president.
The fact remains that less than 30 days before the first round of the presidential election, the absence of debate combined with the absence of a program for the favorite in the polls anesthetizes this presidential campaign. The Head of State’s entourage understood that the ballot would not be decided on the project.
“In 2017, the program was an issue of credibility. This year, Emmanuel Macron will not be judged on that, but more on the incarnation, on his person.”A member of the Republic on the move
Consequence of the war in Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron reassures and can thus bet on his image. According to a recent poll by the Ipsos institute, the majority of Macronist voters (55%) want to vote for him “because they trust him”against only 32% “because he is close to their ideas”. “These are image traits that motivate the vote, but the adhesion, the ideological vote is done with other candidates, like Mélenchon and Zemmour”confirm Anne-Claire Ruel.
The political communication teacher is concerned about the lack of dialogue in this campaign. “In a society where we talk to each other less and less, each candidate is in his lane and we don’t see the time for pooling coming”she believes. “In the event of re-election, I fear a ‘burn out’ presidency, because the campaigns are normally times of democratic breathing, which make it possible to raise the stakes, to set a course…”
“It’s not the president’s fault if the other candidates fail to stimulate ideas”, answers his team. Without debate on social projects and with a short campaign, the risk for Emmanuel Macron is to move towards a “renewal” more than to a “re-election”warns in The world Brice Teinturier, Deputy CEO of Ipsos, “with a major potential weakness for the rest of his term”.