Until the end, and often against the evidence, Marine Le Pen wanted to play down her second debate between the two rounds against Emmanuel Macron. Does she just recognize that it is a ” important event “ in a campaign, but not much more. Nothing that would in any case justify a particular warm-up. “I will work on my debate at home, in a completely normal way, as I prepare all of my programs”she certified on France Bleu on April 18.
A total rewrite of the story served for a week by his entourage: their favorite had to put on ” at the Green light “ two days at a close friend, in the West, far from the media, to devote himself only to his duel of April 20. A sign of excitement when his opponent, he had not planned to upset his agenda. The program has therefore been revised, to better stick to the trivialization of the deadline maintained by the far-right leader. But the story is tenacious: after his catastrophic debate in 2017, doubts hang over his ability to master the exercise.
With the second round approaching, his lieutenants first attempted to rehabilitate the first. “We made tons of it on this debate but, hot, it was not as missed as thatdefends Renaud Labaye, his chief of staff. This moment was above all a fixation for all those who, in our camp, thought that it was necessary to change candidates and have since changed sides. » A daring demining: Marine Le Pen is the first to consider as a failure a service that she swears not to have seen again. More than a revenge, the new confrontation must validate his long quest for legitimacy.
“She is ready humanly and technically: on the figures, she has become impregnable”repeats Philippe Olivier, brother-in-law and main adviser to the one who has declined since the fall a program still ” figure “ and “turnkey delivery”. The last two days will still be devoted to revision. In the West or at her home in La Celle-Saint-Cloud (Yvelines), the MP for Pas-de-Calais will go over the sheets prepared by the famous Horace – a group of experts, civil servants or business leaders working in shadow to his victory. These notes served as arguments for several false debates, organized against a sparring partner whose identity was kept secret.
The seconds are not yet counted that his first circle already announces an attitude “less aggressive” than in 2017. “Marine exudes a real serenity in this campaignnotes Renaud Labaye. She’s not going to start getting upset now. »“Tapping Macron will not be enoughadds Jean-Philippe Tanguy, his deputy campaign director. But we are lucky that it offers nothing but blood and tears. » A course of action is therefore taking shape, in reverse of five years ago: spend more time selling your own project than demonizing your opponent. “This time, Macron will also have to defend his balance sheetpredicts Louis Aliot, the mayor (RN) of Perpignan. In 2017, he managed to make people believe that he was neither left nor right, nor even held by the quinquennium Holland. Today, he can no longer deceive himself. »
On the occasion of her last trip, Monday April 18 in Calvados, Marine Le Pen confirmed the purpose of the meeting: “You have to decide on the subjects or, within the subjects, the elements that seem to us to be structuring so that the French understand the objective of my project. » A project that she wanted to get rid of its roughness until the end. Vaccinated by the previous confrontation against its promises to leave the European Union and the euro, judged with hindsight “anxiety” and impossible to defend in 2017, the representative of the RN returned, during the interval between the two rounds, to several divisive measures: the general ban on the veil in public space or the possibility of a referendum on the penalty of dead. “I am faced with a candidate who spends his life completely caricaturing my positions”she defends herself, before making an appointment on Wednesday: “I come to tell the French that my project aims to grant them more rights, not less. »