Countering the dangerous exhaustion of our democracy

He didn’t have to be a candidate to be a candidate already. When, on November 9, the Head of State addressed the French, relying on a new intervention concerning the Covid-19, it was not only the Macron “manager” of the pandemic who presented but also the pre-candidate for re-election, already fully projected into the presidential fight. Emmanuel Macron is therefore in the campaign, taking advantage of the direct link he established with the French during the crisis to place himself above the fray and step over – at least symbolically – the electoral process: he drew a glowing pre- assessment of his action (return to growth, falling unemployment, stimulus plan), demonstrated that he is still in charge (by relaunching nuclear power plants) and happily projected himself into a second five-year term, announcing the adoption of pension reform after the election.

Covid, economy, plans for the future … Macron awards himself the “very good” mention

This is how Emmanuel Macron has governed since our country was struck by the pandemic: through regular speeches, all the more followed as they are dramatized by the health issue and all the more appreciated by the President that they are devoid of any contradiction. The Macronian Covid is that it allowed the Head of State to anchor his exclusive relationship with our fellow citizens, reinforcing the very French idea that power comes almost exclusively from the top, in a direct relationship to the nation. The centralization and verticality of decision-making were only accentuated: as at the height of the crisis when everything was played out in the secrecy of scientific advice and, ultimately, in the heart of the president. And as the president does daily by favoring an extremely narrow circle around him, whose central and inescapable character is his loyal right-hand man, Alexis Kohler, the secretary general of the Elysee.

Macron-Kohler: investigation of the Elysee twins

This exclusive, almost twin relationship, we explore in a major investigation that reveals the behind the scenes of the exercise of the state according to Macron. It sheds light on the way in which the president and his eminence grise like to decide alone, in direct engagement, without fear of confining the government to an executive role and Parliament to a registration chamber. This is how the youngest president of the Ve Republic, far from modernizing institutional practice, has never ceased to accentuate its shortcomings, reinforcing the monarchical drift of a regime that is increasingly at the end of its rope. He who had nevertheless promised to reform the institutions only prolonged the crisis, accentuated by the last major reform of the Constitution, in 2000 and 2001. Twenty years later, we continue to suffer its perverse effects with the establishment of the five-year term. and the inversion of the electoral calendar between presidential and legislative: a reform which resulted in the overvaluation of the presidential function and, consequently, in the weakening of the other powers.

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Every five years we are thus summoned to elect the one on whom the entire institutional vault will depend, in an ever more vain quest for the providential man or woman. This excessive personalization of political life could only reinforce populism, especially as it is accompanied by the virtual disappearance of parties and an absence of renewal of political personnel. It should come as no surprise that in this game, it is the candidates “disruptors”, outside the system (Macron yesterday, Zemmour today), who, adorning themselves in the finery of novelty, manage to pull out of the game. It is time that we realized that the imbalance of our institutions is one of the deep sources of the collective crisis and of the disenchantment of politics. This debate should not be technical, it is of general interest: we urgently need to deeply modernize our public life to counter the dangerous exhaustion of our democracy.

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