“Faced with the Parisian technocracy, David Lisnard intends to embody the reality on the ground”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – Opposing the Minister of Health, David Lisnard decided to offer his citizens over 50 to be vaccinated. According to Arnaud Benedetti, the mayor of Cannes thus wishes to influence the deadlines to come.

Arnaud Benedetti is associate professor at Paris-Sorbonne University. He is editor-in-chief of the political and parliamentary review. He has notably published Le coup de com ‘permanent (ed. Du Cerf, 2018) in which he details Emmanuel Macron’s communication strategies.

It is with a step ahead that in his city the mayor of Cannes led the vaccination campaign. Announcing at the end of March that he intended to open vaccination to those over 50, including for people not suffering from any risk of co-morbidity, the local elected representative was criticized by the Minister of Health, who not without a certain arrogance, had denounced then an untimely measure, taking little account of the state authorities (prefect and ARS), nor of the rhythm, in his eyes, necessary for the prioritization of the public.

At the height of the controversies over the lack of dialogue between the State and the communities, the words of Olivier Véran have in a way certified a barely concealed form of health authoritarianism, very little in line with the reality of the field in Cannes where the local elected representative was able to boast for his part of having already had the vaccination of priority groups carried out … Moreover, the change in the vaccination “doctrine” decreed with a great deal of support, the simplification of the modalities of its application, also announced by the minister, validate David Lisnard’s strategy fifteen days late.

The passing of arms between the minister and the city councilor of Cannes is firstly part of a long series of tensions that have punctuated the relationship of central power with the various territorial levels since the start of the pandemic. These antagonisms existed before the interminable Covidian phase, the latter will have undeniably reinforced them, and everything suggests that the post-Covid will in fact lead to a greater emancipation of the local. When the State no longer has the means for its policy, its legitimacy suffers, its representation too, its authority even more.

The vignette of the duel between the minister and the mayor reproduces in a form of abyss what this health crisis accentuates: the defeat of the central and its corollary, the rise in power of a new political staff, that of the single local executive mandates, whose legitimacy comes from proximity and the ability to act.

Apart from the fact that the Véran / Lisnard dispute bears witness to this organically degraded situation, it reveals the fluctuation of institutional resources within this field of forces that constitutes the political space and of which the mark of the “new world” does not manage to internalize the movement. , nor the codes. The temporality of the exchanges (unit of time with a minister nevertheless opening the verbal fire), the localization of the communication (Paris for one, the province for the other), the supports of the expressions thus taken on the spot (a conference press release in the presence of the Prime Minister for Véran, a tweet for Lisnard) underlines an asymmetry which in other times had benefited the actor of the executive and which turned against him. Symbolism, as it often does, completes a reversal as much as it objective. The vignette of the duel between the minister and the mayor, if it turns to the advantage of the second, reproduces in a form of abyss what this health crisis accentuates: the defeat of the central and its corollary, the rise in power of a new political staff, that of single local executive mandates, whose legitimacy comes from proximity and the ability to act. The deterritorialization of the sign of the walkers will undoubtedly have caused an unprecedented call for air for this reset. The mayor of Cannes, who also makes no secret of his ambitions, including potentially presidential ones, will have very skillfully used this rebalancing for the benefit of this rising figure who now constitutes the local politician. There where macronism is forged in the emergence outside and far from the field, far from partisan and territorial roots, as in suspense of elective weightiness, despising almost all these stills of politicization; five years in office, a social crisis like that of the yellow vests, a health crisis like that of the Covid, will have operated as a reminder and as an accelerator: a reminder that there is no republican policy without roots and experience practice in the field and that as the state weakens, the local strengthens and strengthens those who are its representatives; an accelerator also of a perhaps reversal of the relationship to politics of disappointed and disenchanted opinions withdrawing from centralized scenes and compensating for this withdrawal by reinvesting their aspirations in the direction of the territorial levels and their leaders. A decentralization by default or hollow in a way, which enacting the limits of the State, would find taste and hope in politics in the local scene. It is also this bet that elected officials like David Lisnard, Xavier Bertrand or Valérie Pecresse intend to embody through their territorial empiricism to weigh in the coming deadlines, and perhaps the main one.

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