His motivation, for those close to him, is no longer in doubt: Arnaud Montebourg, they assure, has “want” to compete in the presidential election. And, if he feels the conditions are right, should quickly make his intentions known. “By March 15, we will know”, bet one of his intimate. This required an “acceleration”, according to his supporters. On Saturday, the former Minister of the Economy, converted into entrepreneurship and the production of honey and almonds, dedicated his latest book, L’Engagement, in Paris, rue… Française.
The creator of the Bleu Blanc Ruche brand, a long-time defender of the reconquest of economic sovereignty, has the firm intention of multiplying in the coming weeks. A “little tour of France”, dixit a relative, which he will start on January 25 in Lannion (Côtes-d’Armor), where the Nokia group has announced massive job cuts. Two other trips are already scheduled.
The need to cast a wide net
Arnaud Montebourg does not conceive of this launching pad as a classic socialist-style campaign start. “Since 2014, he has been an entrepreneur, recalls one of his supporters. He will therefore go and meet people related to his business and he will take time to go to bookstores and sign his book.” Montebourg would also like to meet and, eventually, be able to rely on the associative network, “which fascinates him” and which is not “rotten by political postures”, continues this source.
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Admittedly, the Engagement movement, which he launched at the start of the week and which is starting to raise funds, is led by a dozen young Turks and ex-apparatchiks of the PS, maneuvering to set up collectives in all the departments. About 1,500 people have already responded. But there is no question of setting up yet another small political enterprise between socialist comrades. “The ideal would be to organize a convention with these citizens who want Montebourg to be a candidate this summer”, summarizes his former chief of staff at the Ministry of the Economy, David Lebon.
For Montebourg, “the catechism of the left is inoperative”, assures a relative: “The parties make it claustrophobic.” His friend, Senator Laurence Rossignol, abounds: “Arnaud’s subject is not the left, it is France. He does not lock his thought into the repositories of the classic left.” His time in the private sector convinced him of the need to cast a wider net. “His entrepreneurial journey, the heaviness of standards, the daily difficulties, it resonates with everyone’s ears”, supports Senator Jérôme Durain, one of his supporters.
In praise of the border
The champion of sovereignism 2.0 aims to embrace beyond parties. And even from the left. In Lannion, he will be accompanied by Les Républicains (LR) deputies Marc Le Fur and Olivier Marleix. Recently, he paid tribute to the “hard work” of the President of the Hauts-de-France Region, Xavier Bertrand. He does not hide his good understanding with the LR mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard. And don’t hesitate to debate in Le Figaro with the former adviser of Nicolas Sarkozy Henri Guaino…
Like Jean-Pierre Chevènement in his time, Montebourg speaks to sovereignists on both sides. He praises the border, made in France, relocation, is very critical of Berlin and Brussels and firm on immigration. A leader of the PS still suffocates: “It is an exotic-baroque positioning and above all not very socialist.”
Several pillars of his campaign for the 2016 socialist primaries admit to being skeptical. As the elected Parisian Frédéric Hocquard: “At the time, he had found a point of balance between the left of the PS and the made in France. There, he relies on the sovereignists rather than on the former“ rebels ” . ” Another confirms: “Many are not supporters of this strategy of Republicans on both sides.” Arnaud Montebourg did not completely cast off the moorings, however. This week, he came to talk about his favorite themes in front of about fifteen Socialist senators.