And if Emmanuel Macron was not only unable to carry out a government reshuffle, but also was unable to find the rare bird to usefully replace Elisabeth Borne. The master of the clocks seems to suffer from the vagaries of a political equation which visibly limits his room for manoeuvre.
Is it a coincidence then that French President Emmanuel Macron deprived himself of his traditional television intervention on July 14? He who likes so much to saturate the political space with his interventions. No it’s not a coincidence. It is a political necessity. With this July 14, the 100-day ultimatum given to the government to launch major projects and expand the presidential majority was to come to an end. Emmanuel Macron had to take stock of the progress and draw the necessary conclusions.
No doubt this cancellation reflected this great presidential hesitation. Elisabeth Borne, the Prime Minister, has not, by her own admission, succeeded in seducing the parliamentarians of the Republican Party to join her majority. She also did not mention the launch of major projects that are changing the daily lives of the French. She therefore officially failed in her mission with regard to the criteria laid down by the presidential ultimatum.
In all political logic, Emmanuel Macron had to learn the following lesson: This government has shown the limits of its action and its ambition. Changing it became a political necessity to breathe new life into his second term. And yet nothing happened as political logic dictated. Elisabeth Borne is more untouchable than ever. The reasons are not what you think.
Elisabeth Borne, who has been engaged for weeks in a real communication operation to defend her balance sheet and express her desire to stay at Matignon, seems to have taken advantage of two essential factors which have changed the general atmosphere.
The first undoubtedly lies in the violent demonstrations which have marred French nights in recent times. These dramatic events had the effect of reshuffling agendas and upsetting priorities. While there was a political interest for Emmanuel Macron to breathe new life into them, these violent demonstrations put the great concern for security at the center of interest, which does not tolerate major upheavals or major ruptures.
While the country was on the verge of resorting to the exceptional state of emergency, it seems politically inappropriate to make major changes at the risk of confusing the cards and accentuating an atmosphere of feverishness. For some observers, the urban riots involuntarily extended Elisabeth Borne’s tenure as head of government.
The second factor that explains why the expected major reshuffle did not take place despite the great expectations of the French in this area is to be found in the substitution choices available to Emmanuel Macron. The personalities who are able to do better than Elisabeth Borne in terms of negotiating a new majority are not jostling at the gate.
The profiles regularly cited by the press and who are often close to Emmanuel Macron struggle to demonstrate that they can bring political added value to the governance of the Elysée. To date, the best political bidder remains alongside the current Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. And the question that tormented the minds of the advisers of the Elysée is the following: What is the point of changing Borne if it is to wrestle with a less efficient character?
Despite this situation which imposes on Macron a form of continuity and permanence, the President of the Republic is almost systematically obliged to make changes to his executive, even at the minimum, by appointing deputy ministers or to ministries of lesser importance.
Some ministers urgently require immediate replacement. Between those who fail to impress by their actions and their presence and those who are permanently surrounded by a halo of scandals and incompetence, Emmanuel Macron is obliged to get them out as quickly as possible or risk undermining his governance. And yet, this was not the case, except for Marlène Schiappa, but the structure of the government remains unchanged.
Emmanuel Macron has long presented himself to the French as the master of clocks, the man who prints the tempo and the breath in the country. However, in the current context, it gives this vague impression of undergoing events rather than provoking them or taming them. His silence, see his inaction, his postponement of major decisions testify in any case to the increasingly proven narrowness of his room for maneuver, and reveal the poverty of the political choices available to him.
His detractors do not fail to point out that even a reshuffle, however broad, would not have participated in relaunching his mandate. Only big ideas, such as a dissolution with early legislative elections or a referendum could re-engage the essential dynamic that his second term sorely needs.