the first floor of the studio 130 of the Plaine Saint-Denis, Christophe Borgel patient behind a door. It is 19: 15 and the great manitou of the primary of the left wishes to personally welcome each candidate. Finally, he is relaxed, he has had to manage the urging of the enclosures. As to the topic, speaking time, but also to the height of the desks, the decor… “I was told that I deserved the price of the zen”, playing the leader of a socialist.
This is an ecologist, François de Rugy, who greet the first of a “oh, mr. organizer”. The picky Manuel Valls is more sarcastic : “Hi Christopher ! You come to see if everything is going well ?” But at least the small attention of Borgel allows the candidates to sketch a smile. Whether they admit it or not, all are stressed by the issue of this first televised debate. For many, this is what January 12, the campaign starts in earnest. A blitz : the first round takes place in only ten days.
Primary to left : where and how to vote ?
besides, everyone is looking forward to it. In arriving, the ex-MoDem Jean-Luc Bennahmias explains briefly that he has “repeated the introduction and the conclusion with a director.” Vincent Peillon and Arnaud Montebourg have just the time to compare the blue of their costume. In trouser suit of the same color, the radical Sylvia Pinel would have been able to join them. Not the Benoît Hamon, who, bundled up in his parka of the maritime festivals of Brest, seems to be less trendy cloth.
Without delay, the candidates rush in their lodge. Their two lodges, more precisely. Since they did not come alone. Four relatives are allowed to accompany them. Often advisors or intimate. Thus, we can cross Anne Gravoin, the wife of Valls, and François Kalfon, campaign director of Montebourg. Supports most policies are invited to sit in the audience.
Sofa and leather armchairs, a television and a mirror surrounded by light bulbs, the lodges are comfortable. Has leaves to go get their faces painted, the candidates will come out of it any more until the beginning of the debate. In the meantime, they occupy themselves as they can. Montebourg was able to refine his response. Hamon recorded live on Facebook to address his supporters.
In the hallways, only the surroundings will show. Sometimes, it is friendly, as this radical who falls into the arms of a valliste : “Five years after, we find ourselves in the same studio.” The primary one to the other. Sometimes, it is more taut, as this hamoniste who, after shaking the hand of a montebourgeois, maugrée in a low voice :
“Damn, I want to emplâtrer that one !”
It crosses and recrosses also in a large room. Here, we can snack, but not dinner, much to the dismay of some coaches. You can also quench your thirst, but no alcohol will be served before 21 hours : of fear that a candidate be drunk ? This does not prevent the crowds. Those coaches mingle with journalists and pollsters. Some ask questions. Others move analyses to answer it. A subject is back on everyone’s lips : the winner of the primary would end by allying themselves with Macron or Mélenchon ?
on The outskirts of the dressing room, the tension is palpable. A supporter of Hamon, which, however, has the wind in its sails : “I’m so stressed out that if my son passed his tray.” Another, more focused on football : “It is champion to fall, but it is honorary.” At the same time, Didier Guillaume, director of the campaign of Valls, swears that his champion is not on the nerves, contrary to appearances these last few days :
“It is absolutely not febrile, it is even very in shape. Simply, it may annoy him that he always asked the same questions.”
20h35. “OK, here we go, it is now !” launches a support of Pinel. This is the time to get on the board, on the ground floor. Rugy and Bennahmias follow suit. Then Montebourg reappears in turn. “I’m going left or right ?”, he asked without measuring the dimension of the comedy of the issue. Peillon is smiling. Valls confirms that he is “serene”. Hamon swears that the debate does not put “head upside down”.
The candidates settled behind the keyboards. Ca is there, they are left to fend for themselves. Some coaches meet their friends in the audience, further back in the large living room where the tv sets are turned on. TF1, who produced the debate in partnership with RTL and “Obs”, will broadcast its regular program at this time, “It is Canteloup”.
The dot comedy is going to relax the atmosphere, it is believed. It is just the opposite is happening. It must be said that the mimic laced up his large hooves. Showing the images of the passage of Montebourg in the issuance of Karine Le Marchand, “An ambition that is intimate,” he told the socialist candidate, sitting on a sofa with the host :
“It is strange, but this wine makes me want to make love. In two minutes, we’re in the sack ! Or even on this coffee table at Habitat !”
And the always-false Montebourg to continue. What about his partner, Aurélie Filippetti ? “She died of a cancer in a car accident.” Lack of luck, it appears in a no less false video and the insults : “crevure”, “beautiful bastard”. End of the sequence. The beginning of the malaise in the living room.
there is not a montebourgois on the horizon. But their competitors who regret in their place : “I hallucinates” (a pro-Bennahmias), “this is really disgusting” (a pro-hamon), “it is ouf” (a pro-Valls).
“It’s not boxing not”
On the plateau, nothing has filtered. 21 specific hours, the silence is done, the debate can finally begin. Upstairs, the living room is barely more noisy. If the bar is now used as a wine and champagne, journalists and advisers do not leave the screens to the eyes, exchanging their impressions as to the progress of the issue : “so-and-so is stressed”, “so-and-so is soft”.
The minutes tick away. They seem to sometimes hours. Those who expected the brawls are for their costs. A security agent is mixed with the mass of commentators :
“I like the policy for a long time, but I am so bored. Nothing happens, it does boxing not.”
A mid-debate, the cut-off pub is good for you. In the living room, it tightens a glass. On the plateau, the supporters of each of the candidates surround their champion. When the competitors do not trade directly among themselves. This is the case of Hamon, which discusses briefly with Valls. Then with Montebourg. What will they say ? Banalities about the good performance of the debate.
The pub lasts for six minutes, no more. Each returned quickly to its place, the candidates in front of the cameras, the supports behind. Antenna. In the public, the latter, grouped together by affinities, and resume their activities : a lot of texting, a few sneers. Their attention is total only when their own mentor speaks.
“A long letter”
An hour passes again, until the end of the debate. On TF1, the series “New York, criminal section”. On the plateau, place for complacency. Obviously, nobody wanted to go to the clash, and this year is a success ! Peillon, as though relieved : “We are almost out.” Rugy : “there is no fallen in the battle of cocks.” A supporter of Montebourg : “We won the points in the first part on the economy.” Valls, himself, asked about the health of the young spectators in the first row :
“Thank you all for being here. Ca va ? It was not too hard to take ?”
A young fayote : “It was very interesting.” Another, visibly tired, is more mocking : “Thank you to thank us.” All rise as one man when their is finally given the signal to do so.
In the dressing room, we redid the match. Bennahmias grieves still to be done to pin because of the proposals listed on his website… that he did not know : “It is difficult to campaign without means. He had to ask me about my book, at least, me, I wrote it.” François Kalfon’s displeasure is most ardent of the imitation of Montebourg by Canteloup :
“where is He Gilles Pélisson [CEO of TF1] ? It is party ? We are going to write him a long letter…”
Away from the beginning of the controversy, the candidates are eclipsed quickly. In the living room, the last present to finish to exchange their impressions. A pollster calls into question the validity of the survey carried out live, which has certainly not been conducted by his institute. A framework of socialist wants to review the organization of the program :
“I’m going to propose to the party to change the rules for the next debate. It was too long, there was not enough interaction. It is necessary to leave aside the subjects of consensual and give them time to develop at least one measure in depth. When it will be the turn of Pinel, there will be a phone call, or we’ll go to the toilet.”