French President Emmanuel Macron is barely over a year into his second term but it appears many are already anticipating the end of his tenure.
France has a two-term limit for the presidency, meaning that in the 2027 general elections Macron will not be able to run again.
In light of this, many believe that his interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, is now eyeing up the Elysée Palace for his own term as president .
Speaking to Le Figaro, he said was not interested in “looking at what happened in [the elections of] 2017 and 2022” but was focusing on the next round of national voting. “What worries me now is what will happen in 2027.”
While still four years away, the prospect of a post-Macron France is already busying the pens of French political commentators. Some have written that without his intense personality-driven leadership style, the liberal-centrist group he leads may well fall apart.
Writing in Brussels Signal, Anne-Elisabeth Moutet discusses the mood on the street, where the victory of national-populist Marine Le Pen seems to be almost taken for granted.
Still, Darmanin does not appear to be waiting around to rally centrist forces behind his banner.
With the French National Assembly in recess, late summertime in France is usually when political parties and movements gather for summer camps and conventions.
In an attempt to garner support for his future ambitions, Darmanin is set to bring together politicians from the governing centrist coalition on August 27. They are to meet in the town of Tourcoing, close to the Belgian border in Northern France, where Darmanin has previously served as Mayor.
Around 400 people are expected to attend, including 90 MPs, but very few of his fellow ministers have been invited. The most notable absentee is Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne, who is believed to be on poor terms with Darmanin.
By contrast, it appears that members of the opposition will be there, mainly from the centre-right Les Républicains party.
Darmanin also claimed that he is critical of the current government’s “lack of attention” to working-class issues and said that, at the conference, he will explore solutions that the moderate majority of France can support.
“I’ve been in a minority at the moment on the importance of the social issues,” he said, adding he hoped that one day the popular policies he proposed would be “fully heard” by the governing coalition.
He was also highly critical of what he said was the current technocratic approach of Macron’s government, blaming an over-representation of the “the bobo-Liberal Left”.
“We mustn’t put our future in the hands of technology and technicians by using words that the French don’t always understand. We need to speak from the heart, not from statistics,” concluded the Minister of the Interior.
Macron’s second term has been beset by crises. Spring saw mass protests across France and violent unrest over pension reform, and a no-confidence vote that the government barely survived. The reform ultimately had to be forced through by presidential decree with no parliamentary vote, hurting the government’s democratic credentials.
Summer saw even more French cities burn as many immigrant communities rioted after the killing of a teenager of North African descent, allegedly by police. This in turn was followed by a minor police revolt, which forced the government to bend to their demands.