600 kilometers from the capital, in the emblematic medieval town of Saint-Cirq Lapopie, the favorite of the French, French President Emmanuel Macron, began his own tour of the territories of France on Monday.
If the official mission of such a pilgrimage is to ” take the temperature ” of the country after fifteen months of pandemic, less than a year before the presidential elections, the macronista tour has electoral campaign overtones.
“A few days after the first reopening [of non-essential shops and terraces] and with the approach of the summer season, this trip will be the occasion for the Head of State to meet with the French, to promote our tourist heritage in the face of to the next holidays, highlight the importance of tourism […] and your employment prospects for this summer ”, details a statement from the Elysee.
“In campaign to listen, act and explain”
Beyond the promotion of national tourism, this journey, which will continue throughout the month of July with a rhythm of two trips per week, will be an opportunity for Macron to ” listen to the expectations ” of his fellow citizens.
At each of his stops, which could take him to Marseille, Amiens or Saint-Saint Denis, the president will thus meet with the local authorities and have the opportunity to converse with his neighbors while wandering the streets. A program that resembles the ” Great March ” of 2016, a vast national operation launched by the macronist formation to “diagnose” the country in the run-up to the presidential elections that, a year later, took him to the head of state.
Is it a new electoral ploy ? “The president is always on the campaign trail to listen, act and explain. Are you on campaign? I do not believe it. Are you campaigning for our values, for France and for Europe? Yes. He has never stopped doing it, ”says the president of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand [La République en marche, LRM], in an interview with ‘ Paris Match ‘ on May 27.
“Need for openness and humanism”
While his environment denies any electoral objective, the language -serve as an example the formula “ secular pilgrimage ” chosen by Macron to describe his initiative- the chosen destinations -many of them of conservative tradition- and the chosen dates -the regional elections are up around the corner- they don’t look like nondescript items.
“The president starts in ‘deep France’, that of Jean-Pierre Pernaut and Eric Zemmour [popular journalists known for their far-right ideas]. It provides a basis for not appearing disconnected and globalist and tries to find its place among the identity retreatand the need for openness and humanism ”, estimates Chloé Morin, political scientist associated with the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, in the newspaper ‘Le Monde’. Essential issues in the face of the advance of the extreme right, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, appears, according to polls, as Macron’s main rival in the face of the 2022 elections.
Throughout his particular “Tour de France”, Macron will be able to “take the temperature of the country” in the face of the next presidential elections and address certain burning issues such as debt, insecurity or the feeling of abandonment of rural territories. But, in addition and not least, this pilgrimage will allow him to sound the minds of the French in the final stretch of his mandate to decide whether to resume or abandon his reform program , which includes his contested and unpopular pension reform , paralyzed by the health crisis.