François Baroin was 21 years old, in August 1988, when he made his debut as a journalist for Europe 1. His beautiful deep voice made him an ideal radio man. Then, this same warm voice brings him to politics. In 1993, he became an RPR municipal councilor in Aube and then a deputy. In 1995, he became mayor of Troyes, a position he still holds in 2023.
Also in 1995, he asserted himself as the protege of Jacques Chirac, for whom he was the campaign spokesman. President of the Association of Mayors of France from 2014 to 2021, he is also a senator, five times deputy and six times minister. A brilliant orator, François Baroin won over the French. However, in 2017, he decided to take a step back from politics.
Away from the media scene, he juggles between several professional activities: lawyer, adviser for Barclays bank, professor at HEC… “I need a breath of freedom. And I’m not sure I’ll say to myself, the end, when I have finished counting my retirement points, that I will have missed my life if I am not President of the Republic”, he declared to Europe 1 in 2019. François Baroin has fun with ambitions that we lend to him, he who is so acclaimed by his peers on the right.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023, the deputy editor of the Parisian political service, Henri Vernet, predicts the arrival of François Baroin, 57, at Matignon to succeed Elisabeth Borne. According to the political journalist, Emmanuel Macron should choose “the eternal young prodigy, or safe haven” to widen his majority on the right.
Already in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy, then president, wanted to make the mayor of Troyes his prime minister. Baroin’s name is also circulating when replacing Jean Castex in 2022. Always standing back, never denying or affirming his ambitions, François Baroin questions, particularly about a presidential candidacy. In 2019, Les Echos dare an article “François Baroin. Is it going or not?” Why so many fantasies around a candidacy of François Baroin for the presidential election?
François Baroin is a popular figure on the right, from former UMP leaders to young LR executives. He is at the same time the heir of Jacques Chirac, childhood friend of Jean-Michel Blanquer and traveling companion of Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2019, Éric Ciotti, current president of the Republicans, told Le Figaro: François Baroin “carries real hope for our family, but above all for France”.
“Baroin is the safe haven. He has everything: he hunts, he fishes, he is at the head of the AMF, he has hardened his tone against Macron: in short, he ticks the boxes”, adds a senator to the Parisian. Already in October 2018 on the set of France 2, François Baroin firmly opposed Emmanuel Macron presenting him as “a cynic with a smiling face coupled with a worldly populist.” The president fears him, seeing in him a terrible political adversary.
“To be a good hunter, you have to be patient, skilful and discreet. On the lookout. And François Baroin is, they say, a good hunter,” Edouard Philippe told Liberation in 2017. “Warm, rooted in life municipal, capable of subtle analyses, in tune with nature, rurality, the territory, open to our society, in its diversity”, details Gérard Larcher in his book Counter-power. However, he cannot help adding: “His current distance from partisan formations can be a strength if he knows, without delay, affirming what he wishes to do”, reports Le Parisien. But what does he really want?
Difficult to probe, evading questions, François Baroin never commented on a potential presidential campaign. Does he even want to be president? “It depends on the days and nights” advances Jean-François Copé to the Parisian. More prosaically, MP LR Pierre-Henri Dumont summarizes: “He has a great profile, but no one can say what his real motivation is. We could spend our lives waiting…” And if 2027 was the dream year?
François Baroin had moved away from the political scene to devote himself to his profession as a lawyer and to his position as chairman of the British bank Barclays since 2022. He also wanted to take advantage of his free time to practice his passions: tennis and chase. Finally, he wanted to spend more time with his family: his three children and his partner at the time, actress Michèle Laroque. However, on Friday April 14, 2023, the Laroque-Baroin couple separated.
According to Le Parisien, “it is rumored that his companion, actress Michèle Laroque, [was] not enthusiastic about the idea of seeing him seek the highest responsibilities.” Now single, would François Baroin be ready? Doubt hovers. However, in 2017, he told L’Express: “I would have gone there if there had been a consensus and it was winnable”, reports Le Parisien.
François Baroin plays to win. He also plays with the expectations of his constituents, his peers, the opposition. To create a surprise? To be “the eternal young prodigy, or safe haven”? In 2019, he told the JDD: “I ran in eleven elections, I won eleven, I never go to an election to lose.”