Where are the ministers going? To find out, just follow their Twitter accounts where they never fail to communicate their moves. A very simple way to show that they are permanently in touch with the territories.
But not just… Because often, ministers travel to their homes. This is what emerges from our analysis of the Twitter accounts of 18 ministers (1) between 1eh September 2022 and January 6, 2023.
So, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, elected deputy of the North then mayor of Tourcoing, went to this department at least five times in four months. Olivier Klein, Minister Delegate in charge of the City and Housing, former mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, has accumulated at least ten visits to Seine-Saint-Denis.
There were also six visits to Loir-et-Cher for the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau, previously elected deputy in this department; also six for Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt in Ardèche where he was elected deputy; seven for Dominique Faure, Secretary of State in charge of Rurality in Haute-Garonne, elected in this department; or even eight trips to Loire-Atlantique for the Secretary of State in charge of Youth Sarah El Hairy, previously elected deputy in this department and municipal councilor in Nantes.
Ministers therefore seem to move more easily into territories they do not know. “It is quite classical, but ironically, it is rather contrary to the spirit of the Fifth Republic based on the disconnection between the executive powers and the legislative powers, estimates the historian Jean Garrigues. So interesting to see that despite this separation, the ministers remain attached to their jurisdiction. »
Political and emotional connection
This can be explained by many reasons. The first is, of course, political. “When you are a minister, when you know your territory well, you take advantage of your knowledge to highlight achievements and files related to your territory and your ministerial portfolio, explains Emeric Bréhier, director of life observatory. policy of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. Likewise, if we look at the movements of Marc Fesneau in Loir-et-Cher, or Olivier Klein, in Seine-Saint-Denis, their portfolio seems logically given. The choice of place of displacement makes it possible to maintain the network of elected officials. Finally, the advantage is that you can address the daily regional newspaper, which reinforces the feeling of knowledge, proximity and availability vis-à -vis in the province. »
These visits can also be linked to future ambitions. “Ministers may consider returning to their chosen land as Edouard Philippe did,” said Jean Garrigues.
Finally, “there may be an emotional bond that is not just cynical electoral,” the historian continued. This is the case of Jacques Chirac and François Hollande, very close to the land of Corrèze when neither of them is native. There is an anchor of heart and career that results from political experience and course. »
Convenience or pragmatism?
Aren’t these journeys to known lands synonymous with ease? “It is certainly more comfortable, among the terms of communication, to have a reception that is a priori favorable”, agreed Jean Garrigues. But it can also be confusing. If a minister goes to a place where they should be welcomed and they are not, it will quickly be noticed…
Beyond these political considerations, travel choices can also be guided by the pragmatism of ministerial cabinets. “Ministers have very complicated agendas, emphasizes Emeric Bréhier. When we organize their trips, we make sure that they are allowed to go home, or that they can easily return to the ministry. So, we are not too far behind in Paris. Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne or even Yvelines let you go back and forth during the day. »
The practical reasons then, to which the former minister Dominique Bussereau can testify: “It has always been my privilege, apart from the obstacles, that my weekends take place in the department where I was elected, Charente-Maritime . On the one hand, it made it possible to get home, and easily return to Paris in case of emergency. »
But politics is not far away. “When I was Minister of Agriculture, he continued, there was no better score than the department’s agricultural managers. In these moments, which I do not consider ministerial journeys, people talk to you freely. It is a very important information network. »
The Seine-Saint-Denis and the Bouches-du-Rhône, which are the focus
Overall, our map shows that the two most visited departments since September are Seine-Saint-Denis and Bouches-du-Rhône. Thus, 22 visits were recorded out of 93, including ten from Olivier Klein, and three from the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. In Bouches-du-Rhône there are 15 visits.
This particular attention is explained by the social and political situation of these two departments, believes Jean Garrigues: “These are the territories where there are major issues around security and social integration. They are also the territories where the government’s majority was greatly weakened in the last election. The occupation of the land may respond to an objective of reconquest. »
In addition to departments, some regions also accumulate many visits. This is the case of Centre-Val-de-Loire, where there have been at least 21 since 1eh september The region enjoys a good reputation, as explained by Charles-Eric Lemaignen, deputy mayor of Orléans: “We have had many visits before for a very simple reason. On the one hand you can make a round trip from Paris during the day because the region is well connected, on the other hand it is a territory that is considered representative of what France is by regions. Here is the sweetness of life. Ministers know they will be accepted. »
But until when? Recently, the president of the department of Indre-et-Loire, Gérard Paumier, was annoyed by this “ministerial inflation”. In particular, the burden it implies for local elected officials. “Now ministerial cabinets are warning that a trip will take place 48 hours in advance. This is not correct. We cannot ask elected officials to disrupt their work programs that are present in a picture,” said Dominique Bussereau.
An opinion shared by Charles-Eric Lemaignen that highlights the time and energy used for these events. “If there are interesting announcements or improvements in our actions, that’s fine. But if it’s just communication, it’s boring. »
Elisabeth Borne, Bruno Le Maire, Gérald Darmanin, Éric Dupont-Moretti, Olivier Dussopt, Pap Ndiaye, Marc Fesneau, Christophe Béchu, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, François Braun, Stanislas Guerini, Clément Beaune, Olivier Kéure, Clément Beaune, Olivier Kurelein, Dominique Farique Roland Lescure and Sarah El Hairy Back to the text