August 3, 2021

In Picardy, the countryside disguised as “Tour de France” by Emmanuel Macron

By Olivier Faye

Posted today at 5:35 am, updated at 8:14 am

As a former soldier, Franck Briffaut is not used to taking detours. “Mr. President is on an election campaign! All government is. They are worried. “ The mayor of Villers-Cotterêts (Aisne), activist of the National Rally (RN, ex-National Front) since 1977 – and admirer of Jean-Marie Le Pen -, has fun with Emmanuel Macron’s visit to his city, Thursday June 17, three days before the first round of regional and departmental elections. The Aisne, like the Hauts-de-France region, is under the threat of a potential victory for the far-right party.

For the third time since 2017, the Head of State walks the streets of this city where he has decided to renovate the Renaissance castle to erect an “international city of the French language”. A tool for “Reconquest of a region that may have felt abandoned”, praises the Elysee; the inauguration is scheduled for March 2022, a few weeks before the presidential election. “I had to scare people away, but everyone comes to Villers-Cotterêts, it’s wonderful!, laughs Franck Briffaut. At each election campaign, Mr. Macron will do me the honor of his visit. “

The presidential convoy on the road between Château-Thierry and Villers-Cotterêts, in the Aisne, on June 17, 2021.

Officially, however, the President of the Republic “Does not interfere” in the ballot of June 20 and 27. His post-health crisis “tour de France”, which has already seen him pass through the Lot and Drôme, would not aim to plow the ground for the majority candidates, nor to ensure a warm-up for the presidential election. . “I just continue my work for the nation, says Emmanuel Macron. The country’s situation requires us to be fully mobilized. We cannot abstain from work. “

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also After the episode of the slap, Emmanuel Macron tries to resume the course of his “Tour de France”

But as his reform plan for the last months of the quinquennium has not yet been finalized – it will be unveiled in early July – the Head of State is taking advantage of the period to test his popularity during crowds, sometimes on the arm of his wife, Brigitte Macron. Opposite, Marine Le Pen does the same with the RN candidates.

“Intimate pilgrimage”

Thursday, therefore, this new stage of the “Tour de France” passed through Picardy, to use the old name of the region still used by the Elysee in the presidential agenda. The opportunity to pose the forty-something, from Amiens, as an authentic provincial, far from the image of “Parisian”, representative of the “France happy with globalization”, that his adversaries join him.

You have 64.03% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.