Stunned for a long time, he refused to talk about the bitter, unexpected and humiliating failure that had once again struck his destiny. Then, as time passed, Alain Juppé had ended up joking about it, designating himself as the “least sustainable of the ministers of sustainable development” (one month), as recounted in his book Impressions and Clear Lines (JC Lattès, 2021) the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who was at the time special adviser to this right-wing figure. This June 17, 2007, the number two in the government of François Fillon, still marked by his Canadian exile caused by the affair of the fictitious jobs of the City of Paris, had to resign from his functions as Minister of State after his defeat in the elections. legislative in the 2nd district of the Gironde.

Fifteen years later, the memory of this electoral rout still haunts the minds of the ministers just appointed by Emmanuel Macron. Because the rule, “stiff but essential”, according to an adviser to the Head of State, remains the same. The Elysée tenant again reminded his new team, including the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, at the end of May: no derogation will be possible.

Fifteen ministers are in the running for the legislative elections of June 12 and 19, more than half of the government. For a large part, without being acquired, victory seems promised. But for the others ? In this campaign which struggles to excite the crowds, constituencies considered yesterday as easy conquests seem, today, delicate. The offensive led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon at the head of the New People’s, Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) for, he says, “to be elected Prime Minister”, has cheered up some of the voters on the left. To the point of making this new formation the main adversary of the Macronist candidates, ahead of the far right embodied during the presidential election by Marine Le Pen, which has become very discreet. “The most complicated duels will be with Nupes”, attests the director of the IFOP polling institute, Frédéric Dabi.

“Some candidates will be defeated”

Emmanuel Macron’s entourage has no doubts about obtaining a majority in the National Assembly thanks to the candidates of La République en Marche (LRM) and its allies from the MoDem and Horizons united under the Together banner. But “some candidates will be defeated,” admits a close friend of the head of state.

Among the profiles at risk is Clément Beaune. The Minister Delegate for Europe faces in the 7th district of Paris (straddling the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements), the Nupes candidate Caroline Mécary, a lawyer known for her defense of the LGBT community. At just 40 years old, this close friend of Emmanuel Macron from the left who claims to be from the “camp of reason” is playing big for his first electoral experience in a constituency where the presidential votes were divided in the first round between Jean -Luc Melenchon and Emmanuel Macron. But aware that he could only be a minister “for a while”, this fervent European considers the fight necessary to cross the ladder of his promising political career one by one.

An almost similar configuration presents itself for Stanislas Guerini in the 3rd district of Paris (straddling the 17th and 18th arrondissements). The general delegate of LRM, minister of the public service, had won, in 2017, this former bastion of the left. Five years later, the “walker” will not benefit from the same breath effect linked to the presidential victory and conveys the image of a candidate of the moderate right. Sure that voters are “tired of hysterical debates”, he says, the LRM boss hopes to win by arguing that Nupes will seek to block any government action, including those aimed at responding to the ecological emergency and the purchasing power issues.

In the 2nd district of Ardèche, Olivier Dussopt has his local roots to his credit. The former mayor of Annonay was elected in this same constituency in 2017, but at the time under the label of the Socialist Party (PS). Now in the camp of “walkers” with, moreover, the image of the one who, at the head of the Ministry of Labor, will have to implement the difficult pension reform, the Ardéchois could put off his former voters. It is undoubtedly on purpose that the minister thus hammers with the local press that this reform, which bristles the electorate on the left, will be “smooth”.

Rape charges

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of Ecological Transition, had won the 6th constituency of Essonne five years ago against the right. This time, the socialist Jérôme Guedj, candidate of Nupes, has reason to hope. Difficult to classify in the category of a “Gallic Chavez” – name given by the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, to Jean-Luc Mélenchon -, Mr. Guedj could federate the voices of the left in a constituency where the leader of the “rebellious” won 30.72% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election against 29.86% for Emmanuel Macron.

Facing the right or the extreme right, the fight can also be tough. Especially for Damien Abad, in the 5th district of Ain. Weakened by the accusations of rape made by two women, the elected also suffers from an image of opportunist linked to his departure from the party Les Républicains (LR) the day before his appointment to the government as Minister of Solidarity. Finally, the fate of Justine Benin, Secretary of State for the Sea, seems almost sealed. The member of the MoDem is running in the second constituency of Guadeloupe where the National Rally won 69.2% of the vote on April 24.

There remains Elisabeth Borne, who is presenting herself for the first time to the voters in the 6th constituency of Calvados. Emmanuel Macron made good scores there in the first and second rounds of the presidential election. But the tenant of Matignon, still unaccustomed to the countryside, will have to split the armor. In the event of a defeat, a priori unlikely, the Elysée has not planned any other “plan B” – nickname with which some opponents have decked it out – to replace it.

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