“My Minister of the Interior tells me everything.” This short sentence slipped by the President of the Republic to a close friend of Gérald Darmanin is indicative of the bond that has been forged between the two men. Right-wing defector, the former mayor of Tourcoing (North) built with Emmanuel Macron “a real relationship of trust”, said an LR deputy, still in contact with the Beauvau tenant. Appointed Minister of Action and Public Accounts in 2017 then Minister of the Interior in 2020, Gérald Darmanin quickly revealed himself “essential” in the government system. “There is a pact of loyalty from Gérald vis-à-vis Macron, he is loyal to the hand that feeds him and he survives macronie very well”sums up a close friend of the minister.
“He does his job and there was no one else to put in his place.”a close friend of Gérald Darmanin
According to a former member of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign team, the head of state “considers that his record in Beauvau is good, both on police matters but also on the management of the prefectural.”
The recent fiasco of the Champions League final at the Stade de France – a case in which the Senate accuses the minister of having delivered “first statements [qui] did not correspond to the truth” and “a partial and imprecise analysis” – did not prevent its continuation. Just like the accusations of rape, sexual harassment and breach of trust by Sophie Patterson-Spatz. In this case, which has been going on since 2017, the Minister of the Interior was dismissed on July 11. The complainant nevertheless retains the possibility of appealing this decision. Because of this file which has pursued Gérald Darmanin since the beginning of the first five-year term, feminist associations and several members of the opposition regularly demand his resignation.
Without raising eyebrows Emmanuel Macron, who not only kept him in Beauvau but expanded his portfolio. Thanks to the reshuffle at the beginning of the month, Gérald Darmanin inherits a superministry with three deputy ministers and a secretary of state in charge of the various portfolios: the Interior, Citizenship, Local authorities and Overseas.
It is on this last point that the criticisms have been the strongest. Overseas France, which until then benefited from a full-fledged ministry, came under the supervision of Beauvau. Many overseas elected officials have deplored this decision, like Reunion MP Olivier Serva who sees “a bad sign”. Other opposition deputies, such as Marie-Charlotte Garin (EELV), also castigated this choice.
“This sends a security signal that overseas territories do not need.”Marie-Charlotte Garin, EELV MP
“Darmanin, the one who sent the Raid and the GIGN when the Guadeloupeans asked for more social justice, is today in charge of the Overseas Territories. Cynicism and contempt for macronie”tweeted Mathilde Panot, the president of the LFI group at the Assembly. The Minister of the Interior had sent special forces reinforcements to the archipelago after several days of riots, in November 2021, against a backdrop of protests against health measures.
Not enough to tickle the left wing of the macronie, which supports the former LR deputy. “The fact that Jean-François Carenco [ministre délégué aux Outre-mer] either under the supervision of Beauvau does not shock us, what matters are the policies carried out”assures former Minister Stéphane Travert and member of Territories of Progress, the left-wing micro-party of Minister Olivier Dussopt. “The responsible and pragmatic left considers that we cannot have a policy of living together and equal opportunities if we do not have a republican order”he adds, considering that Gérald Darmanin is “the right man at the right place” (“the right person in the right place”).
In the opinion of a majority of macronists, it was unthinkable to dismiss the powerful minister, with his sometimes abrupt style. His “Calm down ma’am, it’s going to be fine” addressed to a journalist from BFM had, for example, led to him being accused of“aggressiveness” and of “Sexism”. We also remember “when I hear the word ‘police violence’, I choke”, an expression that had outraged the family of Cédric Chouviat, who died of asphyxiation after his arrest. However, a member of the majority “do not see how we can do without a Gérald Darmanin inside, he simply does the job”.
There is indeed one who would have sought to oust the former parliamentarian. According to Politico, Elisabeth Borne tried to land Gérald Darmanin from the government. Without confirming, an adviser to the executive acknowledges that “it was a little tense at the start” : “Matignon wanted to regulate everything, even the subject of the police. And for Gérald Darmanin, it’s no way. He is still a minister who has Macron several times a day by telephone.”
The pressure would now have fallen between the Matignon tenant and his minister. Elisabeth Borne’s entourage wanted to close the controversy by ostensibly displaying Gérald Darmanin alongside the head of government when the latter walked to the Palais-Bourbon for her general policy statement.
“Firing him from the government would have made him a martyr. Macron knows that very well.”A relative of Gérald Darmanin
Above all, in a context of a relative majority in the National Assembly, doing without Gérald Darmanin would have been complicated. “He is one of the dealing officers to convince the most LR deputies”assures a right-wing parliamentarian. “He has a lot of connections on the right, which will be particularly useful”confirms a Renaissance deputy. It is very political and in the context, it is the ability of ministers to find a majority on their texts that will make the difference, so it is very valuable!”
With the eviction of Richard Ferrand and Christophe Castaner, beaten in the legislative elections, the left wing of the macronie has lead in the wing. “The center of gravity of the majority is on the right. The sovereign positions are on the right. And it brings with some what others do not have: a local elected official, in contact with the land, who won the elections”, develops a ministerial adviser. An influence that did not prevent opposition to plan the health law in first reading in the Assembly, Tuesday July 12.
Gérald Darmanin, described by a relative as “a real political animal, a mixture of a Xavier Bertrand and a Nicolas Sarkozy” cultivates its networks and in particular at the Palais-Bourbon. “He has understood for a long time that we move faster by working with deputies than by ignoring them”slips an elected official of the majority. “He is one of the only ministers to have a real group of deputies loyal to the Assembly”, adds another. And the ambitious minister is looking to expand his parliamentary network. He is currently organizing breakfasts with the deputies of the majority where all subjects are on the table. Not sure that this will appeal to the elected representatives of the left wing of the macronie who sometimes see “take out the Sarko” in the proposals issued by the Minister.
Unlike the police unions which have excellent relations with Gérald Darmanin. Starting with the powerful Alliance union. “He has our support because he simply supports us”says Fabien Vanhemelryck, Secretary General of Alliance.
“Gérald Darmanin has always been on our side. He is one of our defenders and our lawyers.”Fabien Vanhemelryck, Secretary General of Alliance
“He was always there when there were difficulties on the ground and he established a social dialogue which led to progress”greets Thierry Clair, secretary general of Unsa. “He is a fierce defender of the police, it’s true, but he asks for a lot of example”adds Grégory Joron.
The unions are waiting for it at the turn on the variations of the LOPMI [loi d’orientation et de programmation du ministère de l’Intérieur]. “We are able to fight back if the orientation law were to collapse”, warns Alliance. Again, some deputies, former leftists, do not see this very favorably. “The unions hold the ministry, they have Darmanin’s ear”deplores a parliamentarian from the majority who recalls the participation of the Minister of the Interior in a demonstration by the police in front of the National Assembly in the spring of 2021.
“It’s like buying social peace with the police.”A majority parliamentarian
Beyond the subjects that concern his morocco, Gérald Darmanin emancipates himself and does not hesitate to make his own music heard. Again recently, in an interview with Worldhe pleaded for “more human dough and contact in our politics.”
“Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen speak to the guts. In the majority, we must also speak to the guts of the French, but differently.”Gerald Darmanin
in the world
Talking to the guts of the French since… Matignon? Some believe it. “He’s aiming for Matignon rather than 2027 because he hasn’t done his meeting with the French yet, but he will one day.predicts an LR deputy. There will be a right-wing prime minister before the end of the five-year term.” A relative of Gérald Darmanin, however, assures that the one who has kept a solid anchor in Tourcoing would see himself as President of the Republic. “He is not someone who will stop there. He is young and already very high, he said. And Gérald is a patient.”