He is there where he was not expected and, even more, with a label that few had planned. The Nîmes Nicolas Cadène, former general rapporteur of the Observatory of secularism from 2013 to 2021, is running for the legislative elections of June 12 and 19 on the 6e district of Gard. He is the “opening candidate” chosen by Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV), taking the whole of the scene local politics.

Because, on the spot, it is not the partition which was to be played. Sibylle Jannekeyn, head of the EELV group in Nîmes, an activist committed to the territory, was naturally to represent the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes). But, at the very last minute, a reversal of the situation is imposed by Paris. He, the forty-year-old who looks like the top of the class, denies having wanted to take the place, like any parachute drop: “They came to get me, first in the fall, when I didn’t really follow up, then after the presidential election. It is a choice of the party, and I am very honored by it. » Nobody, not even his opponents of the 6e constituency, held by the presidential majority with Philippe Berta (MoDem), did not see this former socialist activist land, engaged in the campaign of Ségolène Royal for the presidential election of 2007.

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Since then, this 40-year-old purebred native of Nîmes, from Protestant society, very influential in the Gard prefecture, has made his way to Paris. A law graduate, he was a member of the office and of the national council of the Socialist Party (PS), parliamentary attaché to Jean-Louis Bianco, the former deputy of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence who became his mentor, worked with the senator of Gard Simon Sutour, or even in the office of the Minister Delegate for Agriculture of the Ayrault government, Guillaume Garot. ” It’s here, he points out, that I fought for the rescue of the Salins du Midi”a flagship company in the Gard.

Under the impetus of President François Hollande, he became the linchpin of the Observatory of secularism. He quickly finds himself in the spotlight and critics. the New York Times devotes a portrait to him. After the Islamist attacks of 2015, the Republican Spring criticizes him for having an overly open conception of secularism. Manuel Valls, at the time Prime Minister, believes that the Observatory “distorts reality” of secularism. Nicolas Cadène replies that he remains faithful to the law and only defends the spirit of the law of 1905. Insulted on social networks, he then receives ” regularly “ death threats. “They even came to see me at the office to beat me up. »

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