Suddenly, a feeling of incomprehension, even a slight fright, runs through the village hall of the Elysée. “Mr. President of the Republic, on Sunday April 24, 2022, in the second round of the presidential election, you collected eighteen million…” The President of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, straight as an “i” facing to Emmanuel Macron, just begins his speech… and silence. The former prime minister rolls his eyes upwards, a sign he’s searching for words. Or rather, its numbers. “This white lasted five seconds but it seemed like an eternity, I said to myself ‘shit, something is happening'”, confides one of the Sages present this Saturday morning.

He is not the only one to be worried: many believed in a malaise; the President of the Republic the first, who saw himself for a few moments having to go and support the one who officially proclaims his re-election. He can’t help but smile when he sees him resume and struggle to find the exact number of voters who voted for him in the second round. Fortunately, it was five seconds of hesitation and not staggering. Fabius can continue with his homily learned by heart – no doubt the original error … – and which he had, a few hours before the big moment, passed on to Emmanuel Macron’s teams, out of courtesy. The moment will be etched in our memories. It is even said that when the Elders met in audience, no one dared even mention the ceremony, for fear of bringing back to their boss a bad memory…

Some are distinguished by their tribunician power, others by their mastery of cases. In the VIP square of the members of the government, some have become masters in the art of placing themselves. The little game started long before the arrival of Emmanuel Macron: only François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy had a small mark on the ground indicating their reserved place, for the rest, it’s a rat race. However accustomed, several ministers are still amazed by the ease with which their colleagues manage to jostle to find themselves in the right place at the right time, that is to say the handrail glued to their basin. According to one of them, we felt more than ever the ambient nervousness that accompanies a future change of government. The challenge, it seems, is high: to be on the president’s road and in the viewfinder of the cameras. “It’s the same phenomenon as at the Champ-de-Mars, and at this little game, Elisabeth [Borne] is formidable, stings a minister. And then Dupond-Moretti, as usual, rushes into the pile And it’s better not to try to counter it, physically I’m not the weight and I don’t want to die.”

Same reflection for Barbara Pompili, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and especially for Roselyne Bachelot, whose electric green suit in the front row, sharp with the austerity of setting, left no one indifferent. “Against the green of Bachelot, we could not do anything”, laughs a close friend of Emmanuel Macron. “I know my Roselyne, the farting green is very studied and it succeeded, since everyone only spoke to me about it the next day”, squeaks an ex-minister. Emmanuel Macron having exploded the number of guests, many remember above all having felt like in a tin of sardines, unable to move the slightest shoulder, the breath somewhat cut off. “Suddenly, the photo is dramatic, everyone is stuck with tense eyes”, laughs a member of the government who did not go to fight in the pack.

Two personalities, of the first order, lived their morning a tad differently: Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. When the second remained motionless, his arms crossed behind his back, we saw the first, while waiting for the arrival of the re-elected president, turn to the members of the government to cut the bib. Surrounded by Roselyne Bachelot, Emmanuelle Wargon, Joël Giraud, Clément Beaune and others, the Ex made a popular little number. “Sarkozy is a bit of an attraction, including for ministers, it must be admitted, he has a magnetic side that his successor does not have…”, blows another member of the government team, who does not show himself. not frankly saddened by the loneliness of French Holland. The socialist still talked about the legislative elections with a few ministers… But nothing more. “He came to say hello to us, talk to us a bit and I felt, seeing his face, that he was happy to be able to share a moment with someone…”, adds, with a touch of pity in the voice, a distinguished guest. After two good hours of standing up, few lingered at the post-speech cocktail: the heels are sore and the topics of discussion are thinning. A minister summarizes without taking gloves: “In the end, a ceremony, it remains a ceremony: it does not discuss anything, we talk about banalities, we give each other civilities, we are bored, and in the end everyone finds it was very successful.”

Five years ago, they were nine to arrive together on the red carpet in the courtyard of the Elysée. Nine relatives of Emmanuel Macron, mostly trusted executives from his first campaign, nicknamed the “Mormons”. Among them, Richard Ferrand, current President of the National Assembly, Julien Denormandie, Minister of Agriculture, and Stéphane Séjourné, President of the Renew group in the European Parliament, were obviously present this Saturday morning. As well as Ismaël Emelien, former political adviser to Emmanuel Macron weakened by the Benalla affair, who has returned to service for re-election. But some absences are surprising. Admittedly, he became prefect during the five-year term, but Jean-Marie Girier, conductor of the 2017 campaign and trusted man of the president, was not seen in the village hall. “He is still very close to the president, slips a minister, but he is in office, that does not mean that there is a cold, we must not over-interpret”.

Another figure from the previous term was missing: Emmanuel Macron’s press adviser and then government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye. The explanation is simple and confirmed by the person concerned: she was simply not invited to the ceremony. A frustration? “Not a frustration, an observation”, she is content to say to the handset. However, this Tuesday morning, she was at the major training seminar for legislative candidates to provide her advice. “Well, maybe it’s a clumsiness, it’s not the president who makes the boxes, huh”, defends one of the leaders of the Republic in March. We are half convinced…

Among the essential cogs, the head of campaign communication, Clément Léonarduzzi, was also absent. Of course invited, the one who is absolutely not certain to re-enlist for five years was on vacation with the family, and there was no question for him of returning for the event. A plume shape.


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