behind the scenes of the debate between Jordan Bardella and Gabriel Attal

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will debate with the head of the National Rally (RN) list in the European elections, Jordan Bardella. A confrontation that Jordan Bardella has been calling for since January.



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The debate between French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal (left) and Jordan Bardella, head of the National Rally list for the European elections (right), will take place on May 23 on France 2. (JOEL SAGET / AFP)

The debate between Jordan Bardella and Gabriel Attal will take place, it will be on Thursday May 23 on France 2. What decided the Prime Minister to enter the arena was the attitude of his opponent. Just a few weeks ago, Gabriel Attal believed that his main role was to change the daily lives of the French. That in this European campaign he could be content with distributing leaflets and going door to door.

What finally pushed him to accept the debate was not only urgent encouragement from Emmanuel Macron, but also the recent attitude of Jordan Bardella. The RN candidate was absent from the first TV debates between the heads of the list. The fact that he does not deign to answer questions from journalists during his last press conference is perceived by the executive as a “accumulation of evasion, while Gabriel Attal does not evade”, comments a close friend of the Prime Minister. From now on, “he’s going to wet his shirt”, we are promised. The Prime Minister also participates in several campaign meetings.

The National Rally is jubilant

Jordan Bardella’s camp puts forward a completely different explanation, he is convinced that Gabriel Attal was afraid of the exercise. The head of the RN list has been calling for this debate since January and the appointment of the young Prime Minister. Monday May 6, Jordan Bardella’s entourage complained that the organization of the debate “Don’t move forward. As Prime Minister Attal plays big anyway!” The RN is now jubilant. Jordan Bardella himself rejoices in a tweet: “It is healthy for the Prime Minister to take political and personal responsibility into the campaign,” he writes. Word “responsibility” is not trivial, since the head of the National Rally list calls for the resignation of this government and the dissolution of the Assembly if the Macronist list arrives far behind the RN. “A debate between a head of the European list and a Prime Minister is extremely rare!” welcomes a close friend of the RN candidate. “Yes, the debate will be at a higher level than that with Valérie Hayer, but it’s like tennis the more you receive strong balls, the more you return them with force”!

Matignon remains convinced that Jordan Bardella has the most to lose in this debate. “Gabriel Attal is a puncher, it’s very good that he’s going”says a minister, who admits that the head of the Renaissance list is not as comfortable in debates. “We will prepare with complete peace of mind”slips the entourage of the Prime Minister, who has every intention of remaining on European issues, and not letting himself be drawn into “politics” national. We want to display “the two visions of Europe” and put the opponent RN “faced with its contradictions” on the background.

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