POOL New via Reuters
POLITICS – Like a magnet. As the presidential campaign progresses, the city of Marseille sees its power of attraction increase tenfold. This Friday, September 26, it’s Eric Zemmour who comes to show himself for two days in the Marseille city, a week after Marine Le Pen dragged his gaiters there and three after Emmanuel Macron’s historic visit to the bedside of the city. . Contrary to what he did during his previous trips, the far-right polemicist did not plan a bombastic public meeting with the false air of meetings, favoring media wanderings and contacts with local elected officials.
“He invited all those who have a signature to give, even people from rebellious France,” assures a local RN executive, recalling that the essayist is still looking for sponsorships to validate his candidacy for the presidential election. For Guillaume Origoni, occasional contributor to the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and passionate of local social and political life, the putative candidate should find some attentive ears there. “There is a whole part of the local right which has always rubbed shoulders with the ideas of Eric Zemmour. Marseille is a city where the far right has been firmly established for a long time. We must not forget that it is here that Jean-Claude Gaudin sealed an agreement with the National Front in 1986 ”, continues our interlocutor.
A “laboratory” effect
Beyond these timely contacts and the Provençal postcards that Eric Zemmour intends to send from the Old Port, Marseille has indeed taken a central place in this presidential campaign. More than Lyon for example, where the saga of the Daltons nevertheless offers its share of controversy almost daily against the backdrop of security debates.
”It started with the visit of Emmanuel Macron in September. With an unprecedented media framing: all the news channels stayed several days on site, while on set it spouted ‘Marseillology’ as approximate as it was uninhibited ”, observes the Marseille political scientist Nicolas Maisetti. A sequence which, according to him, has installed the prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône in the “political capital” of the country.
“With this laboratory idea, fed by a magnifying glass effect, according to which all the problems of France (housing, security, poverty, the metropolitan question, corruption, etc.) are concentrated here, and that we should therefore draw national conclusions ”, continues the researcher, who deplores a“ political instrumentalisation ”of the difficulties specific to Marseille.
A “paradoxical” approach, since it would amount to “converting local specificities into national generalities”. What Éric Zemmour does not deprive himself of. “Trafficking, criminality, immigration, insecurity: Marseille is a concentrate of everything that kills us”, has also warned the polemicist by announcing this trip. “It is obvious that he will take advantage of this trip to bring the weight of the failures of the city to minorities”, warns Guillaume Origoni.
“Who can do more can do less”
LREM deputy from Marseille, Saïd Ahamada does not deny the “laboratory” aspect that the city can constitute, “where we have experimented with everything that should not be done, and where we now want to test solutions to return to the city the status it deserves, that of a world-city ”. For this elected representative of the northern districts, “if we manage to solve the problems of Marseille, we will succeed in other areas that are suffering”.
Hence this focus on the Marseille situation, which would carry within it the seeds of solutions to be applied elsewhere, particularly in Seine-Saint-Denis or Guadeloupe, where the fractures are also very deep. “Who can do the most, can do the least”, insists the parliamentarian, happy to see Marseille – “which leaves no one indifferent” – as much to attract attention in this presidential pre-campaign.
Proof of his ability to attract political-media light, Emmanuel Macron has already planned to return there in February. Officially to follow the projects launched with the mayor of the city, Benoît Payan. “Beyond his attachment to OM, he retains special attention for Marseille,” assures Saïd Ahamada, omitting to mention a detail far from trivial: the return of the Head of State to the Canebière will take place. a few weeks before the first round of the presidential election. And by then, he may have announced his candidacy.
See also on Le HuffPost: Macron in Marseille, “unbearably monarchical” for Mélenchon