Macronism again has a candidate for Paris, the jewel in the crown of the French municipal elections in March. Two days after the unexpected withdrawal of Benjamin Griveaux because of a video of a sexual nature, the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, agreed yesterday to take on a challenge that, even before the scandal broke out, was difficult for the party in the power, The Republic in March (LREM). As announced by the Elysium, it will be replaced in the Ministry of Health by the deputy and also doctor Olivier Véran. In the meantime, the police interrogated the controversial Russian artist Piotr Pavleski and his partner for the dissemination of the video.
“Here I go, I feel like it. I’m going to win, ”Buzyn (Paris, 57) said in a statement to the France Presse Agency that ended two days of intense meetings of President Emmanuel Macron’s party to find a new candidate. His decision surprised, since Buzyn herself had declined on Friday to assume the candidacy claiming a “very charged agenda”, among other reasons for the international crisis unleashed by the coronavirus: France is the first country to have registered a death from this epidemic outside from Asia.
According to the station France Info, it was Macron himself who ended up convincing Buzyn to take the plunge. With this doctor by profession, who jumped into politics in 2017 at the hands of Macron, the LREM race for Paris could take a more central turn after the conservative winks that Griveaux had made in recent weeks.
Buzyn’s announcement coincided with the confirmation by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office that he was holding Pavlenski, 35, and his partner, who was identified by the press as 29-year-old lawyer Alexandra de Taddeo. Both were being interrogated yesterday in relation to an alleged “attack on privacy of private life” and “dissemination without consent” of the person affected by “images of a sexual nature”, in the framework of the investigation opened on Saturday, after Griveaux filed a lawsuit “against X” (that is, without identifying a specific culprit) for the publication of the sexual video that has ended his political career.
The couple had been arrested on Saturday in Paris. Pavlenski, a controversial Russian artist – among other artistic-political actions he has sewn his lips, his earlobe has been cut and the scrotum has been nailed to the pavement of the Red Square – he has resided in France as a political refugee since 2017 and He had claimed the diffusion of the video, was arrested for another cause, his alleged involvement in a violent brawl on December 31, which is why the police had been looking for him for weeks. His partner was meanwhile arrested directly by the Griveaux case, which is why Pavlenski’s detention has also been prolonged. The revenge porn or revenge porn, the dissemination of sexual images without the consent of the affected person, is punishable in France with up to two years in jail and a fine of 60,000 euros.
The case that has convulsed the French political class – and caused an authentic earthquake within the Macron party – broke out Friday morning, when Griveaux, a trusted man of the French president, announced that he was retiring from the race to the Paris City Hall after a sexual video was circulated on social media since the day before. The decision opened an intense debate in France about the limits between private and public life of politicians, lines that until now seemed clear, but that have blurred with the Griveaux case, a disciple of another French politician fallen out of favor by a sexual scandal: the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The scandal has also further complicated the already difficult aspiration of LREM to take over the mayor of Paris, especially after the potential macronista vote was divided after the decision of the official and mathematical deputy Cédric Villani to present an alternative candidacy . In the last polls, Griveaux was third after the socialist candidate and candidate for reelection, Anne Hidalgo, and her conservative rival, Rachida Dati.
With Agnès Buzyn, the battle for mayor of Paris seems to be a women’s thing. Although there are a dozen candidates and they are mostly men, the head race is played mainly to three bands and, since Buzyn’s entry yesterday, those three bands are led by females.
At the head of the polls is the mayor and candidate for reelection, Anne Hidalgo. The socialist of Spanish origin was the most benefited from the “macronist divorce”, which saw how with the candidacy of the mathematician Cédric Villani, the potential votes for a representative of President Emmanuel Macron were divided and relegated to third and fourth place polls, respectively.
It is closely followed by the right-wing candidate, Rachida Dati. The former Minister of Justice of Nicolas Sarkozy counts on taking the most conservative votes of the fallen man in disgrace Benjamin Griveaux, who was in a distant third place that now must try to trace Buzyn, more progressive. The task will not be easy, but it promises to be interesting.