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Elisabeth Borne, her impossible mission


Without a majority in the Assembly, this tireless “techno” will face virulent opposition. Emmanuel Macron has just charged it with new consultations to form a “government of action”.

Monday 10 a.m., in her office at Matignon, Elisabeth Borne clings to the slightest hope. “I am looking for a majority of action by bringing together all those who want to avoid the blocking of the country”, she confides to Paris Match. The Prime Minister calls one by one the deputies not closed to the dialogue. Combative, she wants to believe it before finding the President of the Republic face to face. Elisabeth Borne still has reason for satisfaction: “I was elected and I am quite proud of it because rebellious France wanted to bring me down. Unfortunately, it worked for Ferrand, Casta and others…”
For her Matignon is already a Way of the Cross.

Appointed on May 16, deprived of a state of grace and of majority, the Prime Minister is in the hot seat. It had already started badly. “Emmanuel Macron had chosen a Prime Minister and he is appointing another. Can you imagine Mitterrand changing his mind? ” is surprised François Rebsamen, former socialist minister rallied to Macron. A week before his appointment, the ex-minister LR Catherine Vautrin held the rope; then, under pressure from the heavyweights of macronie, who denounced the influence of Nicolas Sarkozy, the president ended up falling back on a plan B. We have seen more exhilarating introductions. Elisabeth Borne knows that the support of Alexis Kohler, the secretary general of the presidency, was decisive. He headed Emmanuel Macron’s office at Bercy when she was in charge of Ségolène Royal’s office in the Environment.

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All promise him a parliamentary “guerrilla” but the ward of the nation has seen others

The candidate and her deputy, Freddy Sertin, campaigning in May-sur-Orne, near Caen, on June 10.

© Alvaro Canovas

The head of government had however succeeded in her installation speech. “I dedicate this nomination to all little girls”, launched on the steps of Matignon, was first moved. The pretty dedication was quickly damaged on the accusations of sexual violence against the Minister of Solidarity, the ex-LR Damien Abad. Faced with a fait accompli by a president too happy with his political warfare, she would have liked to make an act of authority but, stuck by the presumption of innocence, she was reduced to telling her fact to the minister, who came out groggy from the interview. After the second wave of revelations, she hated being roughed up in the field by a Nupes activist. The next day, she took Damien Abad aside and asked him to explain his “inappropriate” behavior. In private, she compares him to a ball and chain, hoping that he will resign on his own, for the sake of the collective.

She has the faults of her qualities and the qualities of her faults: competent and knowing how to “take it”, but too dull, too “techno”. A word she can no longer bear. “I am stuck with this image of disconnected techno. It’s tasty, because it’s often people who have never had a job who do it, ”she replies as a former boss of the RATP. And she adds: “When you run a business, when you are regional prefect, you are in reality. Her first campaign, she saw as one more opportunity to “verify the implementation of what you are doing”.
She also likes to recall that she led some of the most difficult reforms, such as those of the SNCF and unemployment insurance. It is pointed out to her that there is enough to classify her on the right… she who claims her origins on the left. “I surpassed myself,” she concludes with a pirouette.

Insubordinate France wanted to bring me down

At the Guy Degrenne factory in Vire, it manufactures a fork on June 17, two days before the second round.

At the Guy Degrenne factory in Vire, it manufactures a fork on June 17, two days before the second round.

© Alvaro Canovas

It is the former LREM deputy Alain Tourret, 74, pillar of the Palais-Bourbon, who, a year ago, had imagined that she could succeed him in the 6th district of Calvados. On the eve of the election, he was still enthusiastic: “The Prime Minister in our constituency is huge! Of her, he had no doubt: “Elisabeth gives of herself.” She does not count her time. She is like a chamois, never tired, ”he explained, admiringly. The fact remains that he himself was elected with 68%, and that she is with a small 52%. A first cloud announcing the storm which, after having fallen on Normandy, carried away the presidential majority.

A month after his appointment, our Ifop-Fiducial barometer felt the tide turn. It shows that Elisabeth Borne’s rating had plummeted by 7 points. Only 41% of respondents approve of his action. Deprived of a state of grace, deprived of an absolute majority in the National Assembly, the Prime Minister may say “I have a certain natural authority”, her mission seems impossible with this tiny relative majority. Madam the Prime Minister is about to discover the “hell of Matignon”, according to the expression of Michel Rocard, the illustrious predecessor who, deprived of an absolute majority, governed the country with blows of 49.3 and thanks to the support of voice of the center and of the PCF. Thirty-four years later, it may be much more complicated.

Without much political experience and faced with a hostile National Assembly, Elisabeth Borne will not only have to face the red guard of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, but also the group of 89 RN deputies of Marine Le Pen, and it is not certain that the survivors LR give him a lot of gifts. All promise him a real parliamentary guerrilla warfare. “The extremes will want to block everything, by all means, to make the Assembly ungovernable. We will bring together all those who want to act for our country,” she promises. Moreover, she has already spoken with Gérard Larcher, the President of the Senate, whom she found “constructive”. The former prefect Alain Christnacht, who was his colleague in Lionel Jospin’s cabinet between 1997 and 2002, judges her sufficiently “armored”: “She has a lot of composure and it takes a lot to annoy her. The vociferations and slamming of desks of the melenchonists will leave her unmoved. »

The real question is: how long will she retain the confidence of the President of the Republic? In the immediate future, she must regain control in the media, after performances deemed at best without impact, at worst feverish. “I am 61 years old. I have been serving my country for forty years. I have beliefs. I believe in preserving our social model. I believe in the protection of the French. I believe in equal opportunity. I believe in a path for ecological transition that is not anti-capitalist but goes through growth and job creation. I will draw my line on these themes. Those who know me know that I will not deviate from it. Obviously, Elisabeth Borne is not a loudmouth like Édith Cresson, ephemeral Prime Minister. She does not have the sense of the repartee of Ségolène Royal. His spokesperson, Olivia Grégoire, comes to his aid: “We heard the same thing, at the beginning, about Jean Castex. And, two years later, he left to applause. Elisabeth is both resilient, because of her personal journey, and a fighter who is one of the great servants of the State. She proved it. »

The next tests will arrive quickly: on June 30, Elisabeth Borne will detail the roadmap of the consultations for the National Council for Refoundation, this unprecedented body wanted by Emmanuel Macron. July 5 will be the Prime Minister’s D-Day, with her long-awaited policy speech. She will play very big against a National Assembly transformed into a cauldron. And it is hard to see how she could solicit the confidence of Parliament.

As always, she will draw her strength from her family history and her magnificent personal journey. Elisabeth Borne is the daughter of Joseph Bornstein, a Jew of Russian origin, resistance fighter, arrested with his three brothers and his father in the region of Grenoble in 1943. They were deported to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The eldest son is hanged, the father and the youngest are shot in the head. His father and uncle Isaac survived. “At the Liberation, my mother, who was a scout, will welcome my father on his return from the camps and take him to Livarot”, she says, evoking this destiny at the Primo Levi. Her father will Frenchify her surname after acquiring French nationality in 1950, but he will sink into depression until he commits suicide in 1972, when she is only 11 years old. Pupil of the nation, she receives a scholarship for her studies. His mother finds herself alone with two daughters.

The family business goes bankrupt. “I immersed myself in math. It saved me, ”she sums up, sparing of her words, as the representative of a republican meritocracy today too often broken down. Polytechnique, bridge and road engineer, which has perhaps not been emphasized enough, Élisabeth Borne is indeed more a woman of doing than of saying. She demonstrated this in her ministerial functions: “Scientific training sometimes allows you to better understand blockages and get to the bottom of issues. “She never abandoned the service of the State, whether in ministerial cabinets (those of Jack Lang and Lionel Jospin) or in the direction of urban planning at the town hall of Paris under Bertrand Delanoë and Anne Hidalgo , dithyrambic on their former collaborator. Of these years, she keeps good memories while regretting half-word “the error of 35 hours”. Former Minister Florence Parly, who had the same political trajectory, said of her: “Élisabeth is the embodiment of the general interest, of the sense of the State. She draws her energy from her difficult childhood. She has great strength to meet challenges. She has the caliber for the job. This huge hard worker doesn’t want to waste a minute. After catastrophic legislative elections for the presidential camp, she knows she is expected at the turn. In the majority, many wonder if, faced with an untenable political equation, she will be the woman for the job.



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