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“Why is Emmanuel Macron so focused on cultivating the legacy of Georges Pompidou? »

2024-04-02 04:00:32

Many were surprised when Emmanuel Macron wanted, in June 2019, to celebrate with great fanfare the 50th anniversary of the election of Georges Pompidou as President of the Republic. We thought he was rather fascinated by the great heroic figures of our contemporary history, Napoleon, de Gaulle and Clemenceau, three legendary characters whom he also largely honored when the commemorative occasion presented itself.

Mr. Macron was presented as the heir of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, elected in 1974 as president of modernity, on a program of generational rupture which borrowed at the same time from economic liberalism, militant Europeanism and societal progressivism. But, if the Giscardian reference seems to be essential, then why is Emmanuel Macron so focused on cultivating the legacy of Georges Pompidou (1911-1974), who appears, in many aspects, to be his antithesis?

To fully understand this fascination of the disruptive president for the wise man of Montboudif [commune du Cantal où Georges Pompidou est né]we can refer to his preface to the collective work In the intimacy of the power of the Georges Pompidou presidency (New World, 2019). He particularly praised the qualities of “tireless reformer” of the latter, whose mandate was linked to “a happy time, that of full employment and growth”. In his speech-tribute for the fiftieth anniversary, he saw in him a precursor who “thought of both old France and new France”. Was it necessary to see a sort of delegated incarnation, or even a self-portrait? Beyond the nostalgic reference to the golden age of the Pompidou years, the era of “economic miracle” French, of the homogeneous consumer society and full employment, the appropriation of “pompidolism” by the president of ” new world “ really poses a question.

Read also | At the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron celebrates the mythological figure of Georges Pompidou

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Would he see himself as the heir of this France of letters, arts and culture of which his distant predecessor was the emblem? The taste for words led them both to take the competitive examination for the Ecole Normale Supérieure, with success for one and, perhaps, a slight frustration for the other. [à la suite de son échec]. Which is today offset by the literary emphasis of presidential commemorations, when Georges Pompidou was content to pepper his press conferences with quotes, including the famous one from Paul Eluard [interrogé sur le suicide, en septembre 1969, de Gabrielle Russier, professeure de lettres condamnée pour détournement de mineur, Georges Pompidou cita un vers de Comprenne qui voudra (1944) : « Moi, mon remords, ce fut la victime raisonnable au regard d’enfant perdue, celle qui ressemble aux morts, qui sont morts pour être aimés »].

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