the absence of Emmanuel Macron illustrates his complicated relations with elected officials

the absence of Emmanuel Macron illustrates his complicated relations with elected officials

2023-11-21 06:15:06
David Lisnard, the president (Les Républicains) of the Association of Mayors of France, in Paris, November 24, 2022. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

The congress of mayors opens in a tense climate with Emmanuel Macron. “There is overall distrust, including [de la part de ceux] who are very close to power”points out David Lisnard, the president (Les Républicains, LR) of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF), organizer of this event which opened on Monday in Paris, and which will close its debates on Thursday, November 23.

Initially, the head of state made it known that he would not go to the political event, the “congress”, planning only to go, on Wednesday, to the “salon”, the trade fair which brings together the private partners of the city councilors within a stone’s throw. A reception is also planned with “thousand mayors” at the Elysée Palace, the same evening.

Or the same program as in 2022, once again arousing the anger of the AMF. On November 8, during the presentation of the 2023 edition, those responsible did not hide their annoyance. “If he comes to the salon, I will advise him to cross the street”, quipped the vice-president (Socialist Party) of the association and mayor of Issoudun (Indre), André Laignel. The arrival of the President of the Republic, “that’s not the main thing”had judged Mr. Lisnard, estimating regarding the reception of the city councilors, that“there are not two congresses of mayors: the congress where we work and the publicized congress of socialites at the Elysée”.

Pass of arms between David Lisnard and Emmanuel Macron

Finally, only the mayors’ reception is maintained. Held at the same time by a G20 summit by videoconference, Emmanuel Macron will not even go to the “living room”, his entourage indicated on Monday. “And the Elysée did not go out of its way to find another niche by shaking up the agenda”confides an advisor to the executive.

“Lisnard politicizes the congress”sighs the same interlocutor, conceding: “Given his ambitions, that’s understandable.” Reference to the way in which the mayor of Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes) advances his pawns on the presidential chessboard. The elected official claims to work on the corpus of the right, even if it means lining up behind the one who will bring “strong proposals, with sincerity, with the ability to win”. But, notes David Lisnard, “the polls show that there is no natural candidate”, for the moment, at LR. Determined to play his card, he inaugurated the Paris offices of his movement, Nouvelle Energie, at the beginning of October.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers David Lisnard, this liberal “little music” that is rising on the right

Mr. Lisnard wants to believe that appearing as an uncompromising interlocutor for the head of state can help him build presidential stature. In March, a skirmish had already opposed the two men over a meeting with local elected officials. The president of the AMF had invoked “a previous and major commitment to his municipality” to explain that he would not come to the Elysée. In response, the AMF was dismissed. “They did not meet on a personal level and David Lisnard does not waste an opportunity to hit the presidentnotes the Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, Christophe Béchu. He uses the AMF as a sounding board. Otherwise, he would not have been able to create a party with a headquarters in Paris and local branches. »

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