Hearty applause, hugs, tears, and a few laughs, all the same, when greeting the hundred collaborators gathered this Friday at midday in the large garden of Matignon. Edouard Philippe briefly spoke for this farewell pot.
Simple words, “from the heart”, tells a participant, before merging into the crowd in shirt arms … and cuff links in the shape of flip flops. There are the members of his cabinet, starting with his cabinet director Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, some elected members of the majority, and also the security officers.
“We were not necessarily all successful, but we did the best we could”, summarizes the former Prime Minister, shortly before leaving for good the rue de Varenne, giving way to Jean Castex after 1145 days in the clothes of the head of government.
A page turns. “Since I came here, I know very well that this is only a parenthesis. It is bound to close one day. And it will not be a tragedy, “he confided, a few months ago, to the Parisian – Today in France. Saturday morning, Edouard Philippe will take the road towards Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), his stronghold.
“What happens is almost a relief”
The first day of the rest of his life will begin with an appointment at 10 am in the neighboring town of Sainte-Adresse, for the funeral of former UMP senator Patrice Gélard, who died on June 25 at 81. “In addition, the weather forecast announces rain. It’s really going to be a time of burial… and in every sense of the word, ”grumbles one of his friends. Then the next morning, he will be installed in the mayor’s chair after his large re-election Sunday, June 28 in the second round of municipal elections (58.8%). “He will have the welcome he deserves. Le Havres were very proud of him when he was appointed to Matignon. They are just as proud of him now that he is coming back among us, ”summarizes the local member for Agnès Firmin Le Bodo (Agir).
This return is anything but inevitable. “He had prepared for it. And somewhere, what happens is almost a relief. He finds his city, he will be able to spend time with his wife and daughters, spend more time with his friends, “says a parliamentary friend. After the Le Havre bonds, the ex-Matignon should indeed go on vacation. Far away, in a place “which is not yet completely fixed”, they say. “He needs a good break to rest, because we can not say that these past few months have been easy,” continues his entourage.
“There will remain a loyalty of brass”
It remains to know his intentions for the future. Trace your own route by taking advantage of its high popularity to occupy a large space on the right? Or stay in Macron’s footsteps? Among the Republicans in lack of leadership since the rout of 2017, some already see it as a possible recourse for the next presidential election. But at the headquarters of the rue de Vaugirard (15th), it is niet. Others would still see it with national ambitions, in case Macron is prevented.
But the main interested party does not say anything, and lets the others do it for him for the moment. Like the recent creation of this new group “Agir ensemble” in the National Assembly, made up of close elected representatives, and perceived as an act of mistrust towards the president. “But there will remain a loyalty of bronze, with the temptation to find a normal life … then a weekend from time to time in Tuscany”, swears an elected official. “Perhaps he will also take the opportunity to use the pen again. He suffered greatly from not having time to write. But don’t count on him to tell the story behind his three years at Matignon. This is not his style, ”says an intimate.
During their Elysian tête-à-tête on Thursday evening, the President of the Republic nevertheless took care to border the suite by entrusting him with a “political mission”. Even if its contours remain rather vague for the moment. “Edouard will work alongside us for the 2022 campaign, to rebuild the majority. A role perfectly cut for him, because it is a link for many people, “translates an adviser to Emmanuel Macron who summarizes:” The book is not closed. It’s just a new chapter for him. ”