He will have taken his time. Weeks after his re-election to the highest office of the state, Emmanuel Macron ended up choosing – and appointing! – its new Prime Minister. No offense to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has already asked the French men and women to “elect” him at Matignon, the President of the Republic has opted for Elisabeth Borne, his former minister, who notably passed through Work and Ecological Transition. A woman from the Socialist Party – she was director of the cabinet of Ségolène Royal – thought precisely to bypass the face of the New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (NUPES).
However, it is clear that Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon do not hunt in the same plains: they do not have at heart to attract the same electorate and therefore obviously do not defend the same interests. But who is working on what, exactly? Raul Magni-Berton, political scientist and teacher-researcher at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP, Sciences-Po) in Grenoble has some answers.
“It is quite easy to identify the profiles of people who voted for Emmanuel Macron in the first and second rounds of the presidential election. In general, he is over-represented in the electorate of retirees and among senior executives”, recalls from the outset the specialist, who works at the P.A.C.T.E laboratory and who does not hesitate to evoke a class vote for the second round; in particular with regard to the electorate that the president did not know how to capture. “67% of the working electorate turned to Marine Le Pen”, he underlines.
Therefore, some might consider the president that, if not the rich, he is above all the protector of retirees and the rather well-to-do social classes. Is right ?
For the political scientist, some of these claims could be disputed.
“I do not know if it is possible to say clearly that Emmanuel Macron is a particularly advantageous choice for the retired electorate. That being said, the situation is not very surprising: it is an electorate that is risk averse and that often tends to vote for a known candidate, from the center right. The president embodies, de facto, a certain stability”, he recalls.
“I would tend to say that Emmanuel Macron shows a fairly clear desire to protect current retirees. It leads, overall, a policy that goes in this direction”, tempers for his part the economist and associate professor (University of Lille 1) Alexandre Delaigue.
Long portrayed as the “president of the rich”, due to a series of measures strengthening the purchasing power and financial capacities of the wealthiest – the abolition of the solidarity tax on wealth and the creation of the flat tax are part of these reforms – combined with the reduction of certain social aid such as the APL.
If he is perhaps not the president of the heart of retirees, whom he still protects by pushing back the legal retirement age, insists Raul Magni-Berton, he is already more that of social categories -higher professionals, explains the political scientist. “In general, argues the teacher-researcher, voters are rarely wrong in choosing their candidate. And Emmanuel Macron looks quite like the people who placed him at the Elysée”, he continues.
This is a subject on which Alexandre Delaigue joins him. “The policy pursued by Emmanuel Macron generally corresponds to the interests of the electoral coalition that votes for him. This is essentially made up of well-to-do or relatively well-off populations, ”explains the economist. “He makes the policy desired by the social category to which he belongs, that is to say the French high administration, at ease with the globalized economy”, he slices again.
For the political scientist, the President of the Republic also shares a certain level of education with his constituents. “Like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Emmanuel Macron is highly qualified. This is also the case for its electorate, even if success seems more rewarding than the level of diploma in these spheres”, observes the researcher.
Beyond the sole interest of a few, the Head of State – or any individual claiming to exercise such functions – is also the guarantor of the collective interest. It remains to be seen, however, what definition of the general interest is that of the President of the Republic.
“The definition of the general interest to which Emmanuel Macron adheres differs, in fact, from that of his opponents. According to him, the state presence must be associated, if not subordinated, to the integration of the country into a globalized economy and stronger than the single nation”, explains Raul Magni-Berton.
“The ideal society, according to Emmanuel Macron, is economically dynamic and driven by a few innovative companies. It is the idea of the leader, who constitutes a social and entrepreneurial elite, who directs society in the direction of change, of enrichment. Inequalities, therefore, are acceptable: they are the fair counterpart of this dynamism and contribute to it”, summarizes for his part Alexandre Delaigue.
“The problem with globalization is that on average it produces growth but comes into conflict with strong redistribution measures. Opening borders also means allowing wage competition from below. The concern is not recent: we encountered the same in the 19th century”, continues the political scientist.
“In many respects, the model chosen in fine is not the problem: whether it is a question of defending globalization or condemning it, the two arguments can be defended. The real concern is the question of the adhesion of the population. Whatever it is, the model applied must be supported by the population. However, in one case as in the other, the French and the French are very divided. To impose one or other of these visions on them is therefore to create conflict”, judges the researcher in political science.