Interior Minister Darmanin’s Warning on Potential Le Pen Presidency

France’s powerful Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, has issued a strong caution about the potential consequences of far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen winning the presidency in the upcoming election. At the same time, Darmanin has also underscored his own aspirations to follow in the footsteps of Emmanuel Macron and become the president in 2027. His series of bold statements has created waves in French politics during the summer holiday season, redirecting attention to the 2027 presidential race, despite its distant timeframe.

Darmanin, who is just 40 years old, heads the super ministry of the interior, which now includes oversight of France’s overseas territories spanning the globe. He has established himself as a strong and vocal figure within the right-wing political spectrum. As a demonstration of his ambitions, he organized an afternoon rally in the northern town of Tourcoing, where he once served as mayor and launched his national political career. The rally featured local specialties such as beer, sausages, and chips that are emblematic of the region.

“We are here to defend the accomplishments of the president of the republic who has achieved a great deal. With four years remaining, there is still much work to be done,” he remarked as the rally commenced. He further emphasized, “We are also here to acknowledge a challenge. Clearly, we cannot allow Marine Le Pen an unobstructed path to power,” referring to his recent statement that Le Pen’s victory in the presidential race is quite probable.

Focusing on Security

In recent weeks, Darmanin has emphasized the necessity for Macron’s centrist faction to address the concerns of the “popular classes” if they aim to continue Macron’s legacy in the 2027 elections. He noted, “People are demanding greater security, enhanced immigration control, and a reaffirmation of secularism. We need to communicate these priorities more effectively, and I take part in this critique.” Although Marine Le Pen was defeated by Macron in the runoff elections of both 2017 and 2022, analysts predict that 2027 presents her and the far-right movement with their strongest opportunity yet to secure power in France. Public opinion polls reflect growing worries about issues such as immigration, security, and the cost of living—concerns that Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) party has capitalized on with increasing confidence.

Varied Reactions to Darmanin’s Ambition

Darmanin’s unexpected launch of his 2027 campaign has not garnered unanimous support, even within Macron’s faction. Particularly, individuals on the left wing of the movement express reservations about his early declaration. Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister, commented, “2027 is still quite distant.” Reports from French media repeatedly highlight the strained relationship between Darmanin and Borne. Despite this, Borne retained her position in a recent reshuffle, a role that Darmanin is rumored to have coveted. During the event, Borne, whose attendance was confirmed at the eleventh hour, asserted that preserving the “unity” of the ruling faction is of paramount importance. She declared, “This is imperative for our continued action and to prevent providing opportunities for extremists. Our defense against populism and extremism lies in upholding unity.”

Strategic Offensive

According to Le Monde, following his disappointment at missing out on the prime ministerial position during the summer, Darmanin resolved to assert himself and take a strategic offensive. He recognized the need to expand his reach to appeal to individuals who may not align with his right-wing ideology. The publication characterized the post-Macron era as having commenced in Tourcoing.

Key left-wing figures shared their perspectives on Darmanin’s political trajectory. Jean-Luc Melenchon, a prominent figure on the hard-left, stated, “In Tourcoing, the post-Macron period has begun.” Olivier Faure, leader of the Socialist Party, commented, “This marks the end of the Renaissance,” cautioning that Darmanin’s approach could potentially unify the right-wing and far-right segments of the political spectrum.

Similarities to Sarkozy

Observers, both critics and supporters, draw parallels between Darmanin’s political style and that of his mentor, former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, like Darmanin, launched his bid for the presidency after a period as a resolute interior minister. Darmanin has already secured Sarkozy’s endorsement for his 2027 candidacy, as evidenced by Sarkozy’s recent book in which he expressed support for Darmanin’s evident qualities.

(This story has not been edited by Smartkhabrinews staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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