the highly commented returns of Élisabeth Borne and former ministers to the National Assembly

The former Prime Minister and former members of the government return to the benches of the Palais Bourbon, arousing indifference in the opposition or expectations in the Macronist ranks.


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Elisabeth Borne at the National Assembly on February 13, 2024. (LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)

Élisabeth Borne returns to the Assembly in a new role. The former Prime Minister will occupy her seat as deputy for Calvados for the very first time, obtained in 2022. The Renaissance deputies gave her a very warm welcome on Tuesday February 12, with a standing ovation for Élisabeth Borne who spoke at the opening of a group meeting. “It is with great emotion that I find my fellow deputies”she declared before a more political statement: “I am convinced that we must cultivate the unity of the majority to stop the rise of extremes”she said, as if to respond to those who already saw her taking the lead of the left wing of the group.

At her request, Élisabeth Borne will sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee, like the former government spokesperson Olivier Véran, while Olivier Dussopt, former Minister of Labor, will join the Defense Committee. In total, around ten former members of the government will become simple deputies again, notably Bérangère Couillard, Clément Beaune, Carole Grandjean, Philippe Vigier, Agnès Firmin-Le Bodo and Olivier Becht.

A “disoriented” left wing?

Élisabeth Borne’s message of unity is appreciated by most of her colleagues. Renaissance MP Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade wants his voice to carry: “Obviously she will have a unique role given her experience and history. When you were Prime Minister of France, you will have a particular role in the expression that will be yours, in the positions taken or in the political weight that will be hers. I have no doubt in the capacity of Élisabeth Borne to be a good deputy.”

This opinion is not really shared by the opposition groups. Asked about the return of Élisabeth Borne and several former ministers, Mathilde Panot of La France insouciance delivered this message to them. “They will perhaps understand the joy it is to be a parliamentarian under the macronie, that is to say to have a Parliament completely crushed. They will see what it is to debate with 49.3 which remove all the votes of the National Assembly”, declared the MP.

And among these ministers who return to the Assembly, there are mainly former members or close to the socialist party. Could this portend a more social fiber within the Renaissance group? The socialist Arthur Delaporte does not believe it. “A left wing which brought about the pension reform and the immigration law, which drank the chalice to the dregs, I consider that it is an amoral wing, of a left which may be of the past but which does not exist not or no longer, he judges. I embody the left, I know where I speak from and where I live. I fear that they themselves are completely confused, or else they live on the borders of the extreme right.” But the socialist deputy promises to give a very republican welcome to the former Prime Minister.

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