ministers prefer their castles

Where are the ministers going? To find out, it is enough to follow their Twitter accounts, where they do not hesitate to report their actions. A very simple way to show that they are in constant contact with the areas.

But none of them… Because most of the time ministers go home. This is according to our analysis of the Twitter accounts of 18 ministers (1) Between 1er September 2022 and January 6, 2023.

Thus, the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, who was elected deputy mayor of North Tourcoing at that time, visited this department at least five times in four months. Olivier Klein, Ministerial Representative for Urban and Housing, former mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, collected at least ten visits to Seine-Saint-Denis.

There are also six visits to the Loir-et-Cher for Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau, previously elected deputy in this department; six for Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt in the Ardeche, where he was also elected deputy; Seven for Dominique Faure, Secretary of State for Agriculture in the High Garonne, elected in this department; even eight trips to Loire-Atlantique for Sarah El Hayri, Secretary of State for Youth, who was previously elected deputy in this department and municipal councilor in Nantes.

That’s why ministers are more comfortable in unfamiliar areas. Historian Jean Garrigues believes that “it is quite classic, but paradoxically contradicts the spirit of the Fifth Republic, which was based on the disconnection between executive and legislative powers. Therefore, it is interesting that despite this separation, the ministers remain very attached to their constituencies. »

Political and emotional connection

Several reasons can explain this. The first is, of course, political. “When you’re a minister, when you know your area well, you use your knowledge to highlight accomplishments and documents related to your area and your ministry portfolio,” explains life observatory director Emeric Breyer. Jaures Foundation. Also, if we look at the movements of Marc Fesneau in Loir-et-Cher or Olivier Klein in Seine-Saint-Denis, it seems logical, given their portfolio. Choosing a relocation site also allows you to maintain its network of elected officials. Finally, the advantage is that you can refer to the regional daily press, which strengthens the sense of knowledge, affinity and accessibility towards the state. »

These trips can also be associated with future ambitions. “Ministers may consider returning to the lands of their choice, as Edouard Philippe did,” said Jean Garrigues.

Finally, the historian continues, “there may be an emotional bond that is not simply about a cynical election.” This was the case of Jacques Chirac and Francois Hollande, who were very attached to the country of Correz when neither was there. There is a heart and career anchor that results from political experience and coursework. »

Convenience or pragmatism?

Aren’t these trips synonymous with ease in certain countries? “It’s certainly easier to have an a priori favorable reception, including in terms of communication,” agrees Jan Garrigues. But this can also be difficult. If a minister goes where he should be welcomed and is not welcomed, it is quickly noticeable…

Apart from these political considerations, the choice of travel may also simply be driven by the pragmatism of cabinet ministers. “Ministers have extremely complex agendas, emphasizes Emerick Bréhier. When we arrange their trips, we focus on making it easy for them to return home or return to service. So we are not far from Paris. Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne or even Yvelines allow you to go back and forth during the day. »

Therefore, the practical reasons that former minister Dominique Bussereau can testify: “I have always been privileged, except for restrictions, my weekends are spent in the department of Charente-Maritime, where I was elected. This made it possible, on the one hand, to return home, but also to easily return to Paris in case of emergency. »

But politics is never far away. “When I was Minister of Agriculture,” he continues, “the administration did not have a good record of agricultural leaders.” In these moments, which I do not consider a ministerial visit, people talk freely with you. This is a very valuable information network. »

Seine-Saint-Denis and Bouches-du-Rhône, all the attractions

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 in 93, including 10 from Olivier Klein and three from Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. There are 15 visits in the Bouches-du-Rhône.

This special attention is explained by the social and political situation of these two departments, Jean Garrigues believes: “These are areas where there are major problems around security and social integration. These are also areas where the government’s majority was significantly weakened during the last elections. Occupying land may again serve the purpose of conquest. »

“Minister Inflation”

In addition to departments, some regions also collect a lot of visits. This is the case of Centre-Val-de-Loire, at least 21 since 1 September. As explained by Orléans Deputy Mayor Charles-Eric Lemaignen, the region has a good reputation: “We have always had a lot of visits for very simple reasons. On the one hand, you can make a day trip from Paris, because the region is well connected, on the other hand, it is an area that is considered representative of the regions of France. Here is the sweetness of life. Ministers know they will be well received. »

But for how long? Recently, Gérard Paumier, president of the Indre-et-Loire department, was fed up with this “ministerial inflation”. In particular, the burden it places on local elected officials. “Today, the cabinet of ministers warns that the visit will take place 48 hours in advance. This is not correct. We cannot ask elected officials to disrupt their work schedules to participate in the photo,” said Dominique Bussereau.

An opinion shared by Charles-Eric Lemaignen, who emphasizes the time and energy spent on these events. “It’s good if there are interesting announcements or improvements to our actions. But if it’s just communication, it gets boring. »


Rating 01
Elisabeth Borne, Bruno Le Maire, Gérald Darmanin, Eric Dupont-Moretti, Olivier Dussopt, Pap Ndiaye, Marc Fesneau, Christophe Bechu, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, François Braun, Stanislas Guerini, Clément Beaune, Olivierqueaure, Roland Lescure and Sarah El Hairy Return to text

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