Emmanuel Macron may have been Minister of the Economy under François Hollande, it is with Nicolas Sarkozy that he maintains the closest ties. It’s no secret that the two men like each other and see each other regularly to discuss politics.
This little tradition between the President of the Republic and the former resident of the Elysée Palace has been going on for some time now. And when they see each other, it’s not to discuss the rain and the good weather, the head of state seeks the advice of an experienced man whom he esteems and respects.
A year ago, when Emmanuel Macron had just been elected President of the Republic for the second time, he had already sought advice from Nicolas Sarkozy to help him form his government.
For the former right-wing president, it was not Elisabeth Borne who had to be appointed but rather his former minister Christine Lagarde. “We are going to have a financial crisis, she is very loyal, she is on the right without being from any political party” he would have declared to the founder of En Marche, according to the comments revealed by Le Parisien.
According to him, appointing the technocrat would be a strategic error. “You have just lost the absolute majority” would even have declared Nicolas Sarkozy to Emmanuel Macron the day of the appointment of Elisabeth Borne at Matignon. A stroke of luck or genius, the prediction came true a month later, on June 19, 2022, during the second round of the legislative elections. Renaissance no longer had an absolute majority.
Today, at the dawn of a new reshuffle, Nicolas Sarkozy and Emmanuel Macron spoke again. Here is what they said to each other.
A year and a few weeks later, after the storm of pension reform, Nicolas Sarkozy still does not carry Elisabeth Borne in his heart. “We must change the Prime Minister. France is on the right, we need a Prime Minister on the right” declared, without batting an eyelid, Nicolas Sarkozy to Emmanuel Macron, reports L’Express.
On Tuesday June 6, 2023, the two men indeed took advantage of a dinner on board the presidential plane between Berlin and Paris to discuss the political situation in France. For Nicolas Sarkozy, there is no doubt, appointing Elisabeth Borne to Matignon was a mistake a year ago, maintaining it today would still be a mistake.
But what does he think of the president’s other ideas for the post of prime minister?
“I’m thinking of putting (Julien) Denormandie,” Emmanuel Macron reportedly told Nicolas Sarkozy. A choice that does not seem to convince the latter much more. “You can’t put Denormandie, he’s not a majority leader. Put Lecornu and tighten your government with one or two right-wing heavyweights”, he advised, emphasizing all the same “it is difficult to fire a woman without putting in another woman. And then, Lagarde, that reassures the markets”.
In 2022, the head of state did not listen to Nicolas Sarkozy’s advice, but would he be ready to do so today? “Macron is struck by the creative character of Sarkozy, his ability to have ideas. He likes him very much”, underlines an adviser to the Elysée in the columns of the Ile-de-France daily.
However, he still clarifies: “At the same time, he also sees something prohibitive: his vision of the world, of France, in left-right mode, which is not that of the president”. For his part, Nicolas Sarkozy declared it bluntly “the president, he listens to me, but he does not hear me”.