Monday, May 15, 2017

Edouard Philippe, PM

Here's the story. I had  been hoping for Sylvie Goulard, a woman and a centrist, but Philippe makes more political sense for a president who must put together a majority with elements of the center-right as well as the center-left. The nomination is Juppé's revenge. It is also Michel Rocard's revenge, since Philippe was apparently a Rocardian in his youth.

Of course, this odd convergence in the center, so at odds with French tradition, will put both extremes on the new government even before it is formed. Macron is banking on a German-style Grand Coalition. What emerges from this will of course depend on the balance of power determined by the legislative elections. Until then we commentators will be speculating in a void.

ADDENDUM: The new PM profiles ... Mélenchon.


Tim said...

Wasn't Melenchon a Rocardian too?

Bernard said...

I too hoped for Sylvie Goulard. On the other hand, a man born in Rouen who manages to become mayor in Le Havre has got to be pretty nimble on his feet. Trust me, my grand parents lived in the same building as his grand parents.

Lapinot said...

Knowledgeable people seem pleased with the choice, both for the man himself and for the political skill the decision seems to represent. That has to be good enough for me in my innocence, and I'll continue to watch with interest.

Unknown said...

Is the convergence in the center at odds with French tradition? Or is this a recreation of the coalitions that won (in a much different time) the 1893 and 1898 elections?

FrédéricLN said...

"What emerges from this will of course depend on the balance of power determined by the legislative elections." So exactly. French columnists did not get it yet. They only wonder who will "se rallier", endorse the new President. Hey, people, he is in charge. His future parliamentary majority will very likely not include FN. So the only issue is, from where to where it will go, and depends basically on the choice of voters in June.

bert said...

Bear in mind that this election wasn't only a left-right choice.
There was another dimension, a cleavage between cosmopolitan establishment technocracy and nationalist outsider populism.

Set aside the realignment of the party system - which is a big deal - and ask whether Macron's broad economic programme is at odds with French tradition. People talk about Hollande 2.0. How about Juppé's attempted reforms? Rocard's renewal project for the left? Art mentions them both, and there's a common theme.

Lots of people have noticed that the new PM is not a woman.
Nobody has pointed out that the new PM is an enarque, for the simple reason that nobody is in the slightest bit surprised. Nor should they be.

Familiar elements have been recombined in a Macron package, and in the honeymoon glow people are optimistic that the package has a chance of sticking.
History suggests that no more than a portion of it will go through. Maybe a large portion, maybe with good results. Familiar too from history is the opposition generated by attempts at reform.

People in Hollywood venerate Joseph Campbell because they know at heart their success depends upon retelling old stories in a novel crowd-pleasing way.

Anonymous said...

The choice makes sense. Macron choosing another enarque as PM is certainly cause for concern, although we'll have to see who makes up the cabinet. Gender parity is good but not sufficient: there needs to be a range of voices. My worry is that Macron's choices from "civil society" will be well-connected dynamic young people with fancy educations who have dabbled in politics before co-founding a startup or becoming VP for communication at Bouygues. Macron clearly likes such people and of course they have real skills. I do think that he is smart enough not to rely on them too much.

The elections are extraordinarily unpredictable, and it is distinctly possible that they may somehow go horribly wrong for Macron. This possibility seems unlikely, however: even if REM flops, Macron has the moderate halves of both the PS and LR eating out of is hand. (And the centre too, of course, in spite of Bayrou's huffing and puffing.) He will get his majority. If REM does as well as it is polling now, it seems to me inevitable the both LR and the PS will collapse. So Macron will have extraordinary power to implement his agenda, and he will have good will from Berlin. From the SPD in the now remote chance that they win; if the CDU-CSU wins Merkel can still force it to makes concessions to France if she is so inclined. There really is no alternative, so I hope that this all works!