On April 7, 1988, at the start of the presidential elections, a "letter to all Frenchmen" by François Mitterrand appeared in the newspapers, exhausted president exhausted by a cramped cohabitation with Jacques Chirac, where he drew up his balance sheet and his program for a "united France". A first among the fifth republic. Twenty-four years later, on 5 April 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy renewed the exercise with a "letter to the French people" spread over 6 million copies during a militant operation by the UMP. Both had written a few handwritten words. With several fortunes: the first was re-elected, not the second.
These next days, as announced on Monday night, is a letter from Emmanuel Macron who will receive citizens to give them the "handbook" of the great national debate, which he considers "fundamental to the after his quinquennate," according to a family member. "The letter to the French, a classic when we campaign!" Smiled a macronist.
"Words fly away and writings remain"
If he chose to follow in the footsteps of his two predecessors by taking turns, it is to try and renew a direct bond with the country in a time of great unpopularity. Like Sarkozy, who with his missive "without interference" wanted to speak to the electorate because "the writing continues and engages", or Mitterrand who heard them speak "as it happens at night, around the table, with family ". The idea tempted Macron, who always dreamed of writing. "The good idea is to give the French a new appointment in writing, because the words fly away and the writings remain", said the advertising Jacques Séguéla, who inspired the former socialist president. "A letter is an object, we take the time to land on paper, it has nothing to do with watching a TV screen, with a speech followed by a stream of commentary," agrees Stanislas Guerini, head of the Republic in March (LREM).
The idea was born a few days ago at a meeting of the head of state with advisers, in which the hypothesis was raised of a letter sent by Bercy tax houses that influenced the fact that they had to express themselves. measures announced by Macron on 10 December. And this, according to the model of letters sent by Gérald Darmanin to taxpayers with regard to the introduction of withholding tax. It was the president himself who decided in extremis to add this idea of the letter to the French in his welcome speech. "He wants to explain very precisely what he expects from the big debate (launched to respond to the wrath of the Yellow Vests, Ed.), as it will happen and he wants everyone to participate, "says a counselor.
Avoid different pitfalls
How will this letter be distributed? Mystery at this point. The Elysée knows that we must avoid different pitfalls. Firstly, not to be accused of plumbing public finances, while some netizens are already annoyed that the initiative costs "a dough madness". "We can imagine that LREM provides the distribution costs", a macronist suggests. "We should not give the impression that the party is taking the debate," excludes Stanislas Guerini. Another risk: in 2003 Jean-Pierre Raffarin had sent a letter in all mailboxes, unpaid by post, to defend his much maligned pension reform for an amount of € 3 million. Unfortunately, the letter was boycotted by some CGT unionists.
The part that Macron plays here is far from being won in advance. Be witness to this observation of a known power: "People think so much that everything is com" that it will be difficult. It causes rejection … "