Stéphane Séjourné, a shadow macronist now at the head of Renaissance

This very close to Emmanuel Macron takes the head of the Renaissance party this Saturday. Strategist and fine negotiator, his mission is to channel the presidential ambitions which are already sharpening for 2027.

A funny challenge for a man who doesn’t like taking on the light. At only 37 years old, Stéphane Séjourné becomes this Saturday the boss of Renaissance, the new name of the Republic on the move. Close to the Élysée, the former political adviser to Emmanuel Macron will have to prove himself in a very complicated political context, between the doubts of the majority and tenors who are already thinking about the next presidential election.

“It will be years of suffering. He will have to force his temper. He is not really the type to like to slap,” judge Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the former First Secretary of the PS, who knew him in his political debut.

The springboard of the CPE

The one who dreamed of becoming an airline pilot during his childhood in Poitiers has already experienced his baptism of fire in 2014 alongside Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy. It was he, as a parliamentary adviser, who rounded the corners with the socialist deputies who then looked at the tenant of Bercy and his reforms – between the extension of the possibilities of work on Sundays and the arrival of Uber in France – with suspicion.

“At that time, he oiled the wheels. He unlocked complicated relationships, and finally he allowed the Macron law to be passed”, analyzes with hindsight one of his relatives, former MP Pierre Person, with

It must be said that Stéphane Séjourné studied on rue de Solférino, an asset to conquer the hearts of the elephants of the Palais-Bourbon. His political career resembles the cursus honorum of many young socialists. Upon his arrival on the benches of the Poitiers law school, the young man joined the Unef before taking to the streets against the first job contract (CPE) defended by Dominique de Villepin, then Prime Minister.

It was then that the student met Pierre Person, Sacha Houlié, Aurélien Taché and Guillaume Chiche – his comrades from the “Poitiers band”, who would all make their debut at the Palais-Bourbon in 2017 under the label of The Republic on the Move.

“In a few days, he took the lead of the student movement. He had understood very quickly how to block the university how to convince even those who had no idea what the CPE was. We felt that he did not was interested in nothing other than politics,” says Guillaume Chiche.

“Baby Camba”

In a faculty judged rather on the right, the feat is noticed rue de Solférino, in particular by relatives of Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, who loves to surround himself with new faces.

His help was invaluable when Stéphane Séjourné moved to Paris. After a detour through a post of parliamentary assistant, “baby Camba” joined the cabinet of Jean-Paul Huchon, the president of the Île-de-France region. Meanwhile, the twenty-something experienced his first great political disappointment: the end of the career of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, after his arrest in the Sofitel affair.

The aborted campaign, however, saw several small hands rub shoulders who will be brought, like him, six years later, to support Emmanuel Macron in his conquest of power: Benjamin Griveaux, Stanislas Guérini, Cédric O…

in secret

In 2014, he needed to get some fresh air, heading to Bercy at Emmanuel Macron’s office.

“When we saw how he had gone about landing at Macron, we thought he really had resources…”, slips a member of his entourage.

To convince him to hire him, he writes a note in which he severely attacks the PS. His tone may well seduce the minister, but he is only offered a position as project manager. Stéphane Séjourné has the luxury of refusing before winning his case and winning his martingale: a mission as a parliamentary adviser.

When the Minister of the Economy decides to try his luck in the presidential election, his collaborator has a ready-made role alongside other comrades of the Poitiers gang: launching the Young people with Macron, before devoting himself to the search for sponsorships with mayors, a challenge for a movement that has just started, without a local elected official.

Proof that the collaborator has proven himself during the campaign and that Emmanuel Macron has immense confidence in him: just like the future secretary general of the Élysée Alexis Kohler, he is present the day after the first round, when the future head of the State meets in the greatest secrecy Édouard Philippe.

“Not a killer”

Barely arrived rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, he was appointed political adviser and had to set about selecting candidates for the legislative elections. If, among the gang of Poitiers, all his friends become deputies a few weeks later, he passes his turn.

“He could have come and faced me in my constituency. He didn’t. He’s not a killer like you have to be when you want to have a career. In a way, I thought to myself that ‘He was just an ambitious man among others,’ squeals Jean-Christophe Cambadélis.

At the Élysée, the young man is a sensor of the atmosphere. It is up to him to raise the grievances of the deputies and to brief the president before his weekly dinner with the heavyweights of the majority. “In this exercise, he was able to both impose himself and fade away,” said François Patriat, the boss of the Macronist senators.

power couple

A year and a half after his arrival in the halls of power, he left the Château to become campaign director for the LaREM list in the European elections, before becoming a candidate himself.

“Unlike some macronists, he is someone who considers the election to be essential. He is not a living room activist”, advances Pierre Person by way of justification.

In the mysteries of power, some see his departure as a way out. A few weeks earlier, his companion Gabriel Attal was appointed Secretary of State for Youth. If he loves to take the light, there is no question for Stéphane Séjourné to publicize his relationship.

“Whether you’re gay or straight, everyone has the right to their private life. Everyone has their own personality and sensitivity on this subject, mine is discreet”, he explained in the columns of Stubborn last November to justify his discretion.

“He always achieves his ends”

In the European Parliament, the MEP becomes president of the French macronist group. A beautiful post which does not prevent many macronists, including among these friends, from seeing this arrival in Brussels as a relegation. But less than two years later, thanks to a surprise resignation, he won the presidency of the centrist group which has around a hundred MEPs.

“He could be like François Hollande saying yes to everyone. But in the end, he always achieves his ends, without brutality but with firmness, without us necessarily realizing it”, analyzes the MEP Renaissance Ilana Cicurel to explain this promotion.

The post is crucial in the hemicycle, thus worrying certain “small” countries of the EU. They then fear that the 30-year-old is just a simple transmission belt, trying to impose the vision of Emmanuel Macron, a few months before the start of France’s rotating European presidency, finally hit by the war in Ukraine.

Never more than 36 hours outside of Paris

This fan of detective series does not move away from Paris for all that. His team has one instruction: never more than one night away from the capital. Enough to allow him to attend political committees during the presidential campaign and to continue to be among the people of confidence around Emmanuel Macron.

Once the president is re-elected, it is he who negotiates the creation of a common banner between the Republic on the move, Horizons, the Modem and Acting under the name Together for the legislative elections. The mission is at very high political risk as it affects the financial distribution between the different chapels.

“The photo where all the leaders are pulling their faces does not come out of nowhere. They all had the impression that he had made them swallow snakes without really being able to refuse them”, decrypts a party executive, with reference to an image mocked on social media.

“His vision is the line of the president”

We see Édouard Philippe, his eyes dark, his arms crossed and François Bayrou, slumped. But reaching an agreement, without making – too much – dissatisfaction, he knows that he won his passport at the head of the party, rue du Rocher in Paris, to replace Stanislas Guérini, appointed to the government and considered unconvincing in his role. as general delegate of the party.

His mission sheet is clear: put the party in battle order for the next elections in 2024 and above all try to contain the presidential ambitions of Bruno Le Maire or Édouard Philippe.

“Macron especially wanted someone who does not think above all of 2027. With him, there is no risk. Nobody knows him”, mocks a close friend of the Minister of the Economy.

MEP Ilana Cicurel puts it another way: “He has no vision of his own. His vision is the line of the president.”

His friends, however, want to believe it: “he will have the mandate to resolve complicated situations. He has ambition without ever trying to put himself forward. It is this kind of profile that the party needs”, wants to believe Guillaume Chick. Answer in a few months.

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