In Calvados, Élisabeth Borne tries to eliminate the label of “Madame 49.3” | EUROtoday

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LPolitics can also be a horse race. Who will win? By what margin? Élisabeth Borne, who was having lunch this Monday upstairs on the Robert-Auvray racecourse in Vire (Calvados), understood this properly. Downstairs, within the giant room the place 100 or so horse racing fanatics are gathered, individuals are speaking as a lot about horses and their jockeys as in regards to the first spherical of the legislative elections. In the queue stretching out in entrance of the PMU stand, Robert, a retiree, asks his pal Baptiste: “Do you think she has a chance of winning, Borne?” Baptiste shrugs nonchalantly, leaves a silence of some seconds, then replies: “Anyway, it won't change anything. Centre-left, centre-right… Nothing has changed for forty years.” “Whereas the RN, we've never tried,” provides a person in his forties, who joins the dialog. A number of aged folks, who had their noses glued to their statistics sheets, nod discreetly.

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A number of metres away, Jean, a father from La Manche, regrets that “the extremists are so high” on this historically reasonable area however believes that Borne, who based on him “overused 49.3”, is partly accountable. “People are fed up. They don't feel listened to and, above all, scorned. It's a vote of frustration”, he says, simply earlier than the previous Prime Minister descends the steps resulting in the nice corridor. “Here's Mrs 49.3! I'm going to get some air”, a person grumbles when he sees her arrive.

Inside, whereas everyone seems to be betting on their horse, Élisabeth Borne appears decided to get again on hers. Narrowly elected in 2022 within the 6e constituency of Calvados – she had gained within the second spherical with 52.4% of the vote towards the younger Nupes candidate, Noé Gauchard, following his appointment to Matignon –, she is, two years later, in an unfavorable poll. While the RN was not even within the second spherical two years in the past, their candidate Nicolas Calbrix, whom she accuses of getting been “parachuted” into this rural constituency, collected 36.26% of the vote on June 30, forward of Borne (28.93%).

But the outgoing MP just isn’t discouraged and intends to “give it her all” to win on July 7. Affable, she shakes just a few fingers, poses behind a counter and tries to lighten the temper. “Well, at least it's not a heatwave,” she whispers to a girl, whereas vaping. “I don't know how you do it in a T-shirt, I have three down jackets!” she laughs. “What do you think about the dissolution?” a person asks her. “Joker!” she evades, all smiles, assuring that she’s going to converse on the topic “when the time comes.” However, there’s a hole between those that recognize her and conform to trade just a few phrases together with her and people with whom dialogue is inconceivable. “What a bunch of hypocrites… I can't stand her,” sneers a retiree, who says she has “already done [son] choice for Sunday”.

“I’m consumed with anger”

In the evening, we hear the same remarks at Gambrinus, a bar in Vire – the main town in the constituency – where Borne has come to watch the second half of the eighth-final of the Euro football championship, France-Belgium. When she enters, she is barely visible in the darkness of this bar that looks like an English pub: each table has its pitcher of beer and all the rooms are full. “Hey, she's coming to see if she has any assist,” a man mocks. “She's in bother with me… We'll see her in the course of the marketing campaign after which we gained't see her anymore,” whispers a man with a shaved head. “If we lose, she'll damage my night.” The victory of the Blues dissipates her anger and, at the end of the match, everyone lets off steam. While the sound system blares “Freed From Desire” and “Bring the Cup Home,” the former Prime Minister takes a few selfies with young Virois.

The next morning, Élisabeth Borne campaigns on the market of Thury-Harcourt, 40 kilometres north of Vire. The reception is rather good in this town of 3,500 inhabitants, where the results of the European elections are similar to those recorded at the national level – Jordan Bardella's list came out on top with 31.47% of the vote, against 15.22% for the one led by Valérie Hayer. “We usually see Mrs Borne. She is in any respect the markets,” says a market gardener.

A couple of young parents assure her that they will vote for her, and a pensioner, Martine, asks her for an autograph. But even among her supporters and despite her efforts, Élisabeth Borne struggles to get rid of of the image of “Mrs. 49.3”, which sticks to her skin like Captain Haddock's sticking plaster. She tries to reverse the argument by recalling that Jordan Bardella will have to use it if he only has a relative majority. “How will he present France with a funds with out an absolute majority? In France, it's unlucky, however for a funds, you want ten 49.3s”, she replies to her detractors, hammering home that Jordan Bardella “doesn’t respect democracy” when he claims that he would refuse the post of Prime Minister if his party did not obtain an absolute majority.

“Ukraine is a handy excuse”

“You ought to clarify all this, in any other case folks gained't perceive why you used it a lot and can blame you for it. You can't ask folks to vote for somebody who has circumvented the parliamentary vote. “, a man who, despite this exchange, is thinking of voting blank tells him. Nadège, a 77-year-old former farmer, calls out to an activist who is distributing leaflets for Élisabeth Borne. “I’m wracked with anger. I can't take it anymore. I stay on 538 euros a month. 538 euros… On the fifteenth of the month, I’ve nothing left to eat. Can you consider it?!” she shouts, moved.

READ ALSO The unbearable lightness of Emmanuel Macron “I perceive, however will probably be even worse with the RN. We can't allow them to govern the nation,” the activist argues. “It can't be worse than what Macron did to us. We'll give it a attempt to we'll see in six months,” continues Nadège, who will later meet Borne, accompanied by the mayor of Thury-Harcourt, at the market. “I don't perceive why we're not providing you the minimal old-age pension,” the former Prime Minister tells her, recalling that her government has just increased the minimum old-age pension by 100 euros. An appointment will be made, immediately afterwards, with the mayor, Philippe Lagalle.

Another retiree tells her about his gas and electricity bills that keep increasing. She reminds us that it is linked to the war in Ukraine. “Ukraine is a handy excuse,” he fumes, before turning on his heels. Still others accuse him of allying himself with LFI – Noé Gauchard, the candidate of the New Popular Front who came third, withdrew as soon as the results were announced on Sunday evening. Baroque, when you think that the left led the battle against the pension reform led by a certain… Élisabeth Borne. Before leaving, the former head of government meets his opponent in the second round, Nicolas Calbrix. The exchange is cold and short. She asks him why he refused the invitation from a local media outlet, West Trendto debate. “I’ve an expert obligation,” he assures. The candidate, who hammered home at the previous debate that she was “Mrs. 49.3” and that she had “compelled by way of” her pension reform, nonetheless promised to satisfy her on the France 3 set on Wednesday night.–03-07-2024-2564682_20.php