Reshuffle: Will ministers be replaced? When and by whom?


Reshuffle: Will ministers be replaced? When and by whom?

REDESIGN. Nothing is confirmed, but rumors continue to point to an upcoming redesign. Is Emmanuel Macron really planning to replace his ministers? When could he do it?

[Updated July 17, 2023 12:29 PM] Rumors of a reshuffle have been circulating for several weeks and are still worrying ministers. But these are only rumors: if indiscretions have been blown in the media, Emmanuel Macron has never confirmed - nor denied - the various hypotheses. And the head of state continues to blow hot and cold on his government.

The President of the Republic invited his ministers not to take at face value the assumptions of reshuffle mentioned in the media during the last government meeting. And to the spokesperson for the executive, Olivier Véran, to add: "It is not because the press writes that there will be a reshuffle that it is a self-fulfilling press". But only a few days later, Emmanuel Macron invites his government for a dinner at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday July 18 as reported by RTL. The invitation may be "usual at the end of each parliamentary session" according to our colleagues, this time it has a particular tenor for certain ministers since "the reshuffle will be in everyone's head" at mealtime according to an adviser.

So will there be a reshuffle or not? The future of government is still hazy, but speculation about when a possible change will occur and who might leave and join government is being speculated here and there.

The deadline was set, but was not met. The end of the "100 days of appeasement" which was scheduled for July 14 did not ultimately give rise to a speech by Emmanuel Macron, nor to an address by Elisabeth Borne. And no reshuffling took place as some expected. However, the Elysée has promised a speech by the President of the Republic in "the next few days", will the latter take advantage of the opportunity to reshuffle his government? Nothing is guaranteed, because the speech could be decorrelated from a recomposition of the government team.

A small window of opportunity could be exploited by the Head of State in the week of July 17 between the summit between the European Union and the Latin American states organized on July 17 and 18, a meeting with the Olympic Games committee 2024 at the Elysée on July 19 and a departure for Oceania scheduled for the weekend. If the reshuffle doesn't happen between these appointments, it might have to wait until the end of August and Emmanuel Macron's return from vacation, according to CNews. A temporality that would allow the Head of State to put down on paper the composition of his next government and to convince all concerned, if it has not already been done.

Is there a preferred hypothesis? Not officially, but a few days before July 14, relatives of Emmanuel Macron quoted by L'Opinion believed that "at a time like this, reshuffling the executive would be clumsy and totally offbeat". Could the situation have changed in the space of a week? A minister, for his part, considered that a change of ministerial team "extremely destabilizing for the government at a difficult time".

Promised to leave at the start of 2023, Elisabeth Borne received the pledges of Emmanuel Macron on June 26. She has also been tasked with preparing a speech for the first half of July to announce new work, but has yet to speak as of July 17. The replacement of the Prime Minister is therefore no longer so certain, but her maintenance is not assured either. Emmanuel Macron hailed his head of government who worked "determinedly, courageously, at the head of a committed government with a relative majority but who knew how to build alliances". But the tensions that exist between the two politicians are no longer a secret and Elisabeth Borne's stay at Matignon could not be extended by a few months with a postponement of the reshuffle.

It remains to be seen who would take the place of the Prime Minister in the event of a replacement. Despite the differences in political lines between her and the President of the Republic and despite her unpopularity, Elisabeth Borne "does the job very well" according to a minister with Franceinfo. Moreover, no potential successor seems able to do better, nor muster an absolute majority in the National Assembly or conclude an alliance with the right.

If the departure of Elisabeth Borne is no longer the preferred hypothesis, a list of possible replacements has been drawn up with the names of Gérald Darmanin (Minister of the Interior), Julien Denormandie (former Minister of Agriculture) and Sébastien Lecornu (Minister of Defence). In Macronie, the preference goes to the appointment of a "faithful" of the Head of State which would eliminate the tenant of Place Beauvau. But the minister is benefiting from the negotiations of some who want to see a right-wing figure settle at the head of the government. A hypothesis also defended by 56% of French people according to a poll for Le Figaro.

Other names have already been removed from the list, including François Bayrou and Richard Ferrand, early supporters of Emmanuel Macron. On the right, Senate President LR Gérard Larcher would have refused while Nicolas Sarkozy "would have seen himself there" according to RTL.

The fate of the Prime Minister is not yet sealed, nor those of the ministers of her government. A few heavyweights who have been loyal to Emmanuel Macron are immune, including names like Bruno Le Maire, Gérald Darmanin, Gabriel Attal and Olivier Véran. Those could however take advantage of the game of musical chairs to change their portfolio, Olivier Véran currently spokesperson for the executive would have views on National Education according to RTL.

Among the members of the government in the hot seat, the ministers from civil society are in the front line, in particular Pap Ndiaye (Education), François Braun (Health) and Christophe Béchu (Ecological transition). In question ? Their personalities that do not imprint, the lack of incarnation and their actions deemed insufficient on the major projects they have to manage. "Too many files are not moving forward and these ministers there, they must be changed" charged an adviser at the microphone of RTL.

For the same reasons as his fellow ministers, Olivier Klein (Housing) also risks his place in the government in the event of a reshuffle. Politics has not been sufficiently illustrated despite the crisis in the sector and for which Elisabeth Borne presented a plan, in place of Olivier Klein. But the minister enjoys Brigitte Macron's sympathy, is that enough to keep him going? Marlène Schiappa is also appreciated by the wife of the Head of State, by her close adviser Alexis Kohler and has the support of Gérald Darmanin. However, the Secretary of State could be in the sights after several controversies, the last on the Marianne funds being the most embarrassing. The Minister in charge of Relations with Parliament, Franck Riester, does not convince the majority in his role either.

Finally, the ministers encumbered by legal affairs could also be in the hot seat, like the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti or the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt. Their postures, however, seem more likely than those of their comrades.

In addition to the replacement of ministers perceived as the weak links on the political level, the reshuffle could also be an opportunity to reduce the ministerial team currently composed of more than 40 ministers and secretary of state, most of whom have no resonated with the French.

To settle in the ministries, the suitors are not lacking. Above all, the replacement of most members of the government would not be experienced as an earthquake by the French. Aside from the handful of ministers on the front line since the previous term, no one has impregnated with the population. And even internally, according to an elected official of the majority. "The other day, Marc Ferracci (Renaissance MP) did not even recognize Sonia Backès (Secretary of State for Citizenship)!", He laughs in L'Obs.

Some macronists are therefore pushing to move the lines. "Macron has no other choice" launches one of them to the weekly, pleading for "a tighter and more identified team", a colleague who agrees with La Dépêche du Midi: " We need more political profiles. An incarnation in Health and Education is necessary."

So who to take a morocco? Names of deputies such as those of Aurore Bergé (president of the Renaissance group in the Assembly), Guillaume Kasbarian (president of the Economic Affairs Committee), Saché Houlié (of that of Laws), Florent Boudié, Maud Bregeon or even Marie Lebec are quoted by L'Opinion. What if the Senate also became a breeding ground? Mathieu Lefèvre and Louis Margueritte could be in the race. For what positions? The time is not there. But, with discretion to try not to get burned, everyone tries quietly to place their pawns.