“He’s the gentleman for politics!” A hoarse voice disturbs the tranquility of the town of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Loiret. Absorbed by her gardening work, Danielle cannot hide her surprise at seeing Jean-Michel Blanquer at her gate. A beret screwed on his head, the former Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports advances with a confident step towards the woman in her sixties. “Hello, here is my program for the legislative elections”, declares Mr. Blanquer, now candidate Together in the 4th district of this rural department of the Center-Val de Loire region. “Thank you so much for coming. We feel completely abandoned, no one comes to see us”, whispers this resident of this village where Marine Le Pen achieved one of the best scores in the second round of the presidential election in the department – collecting 56.08% of the votes. votes.

Challenged by this unusual agitation, some neighbors cross the step of their door to come to greet the former minister and, especially, to transmit their grievances to him. “It is absolutely necessary to seize the subject of the medical desert, enjoins a retired woman. I won’t be able to see my GP, there are 600 people on the waiting list before me. “On this issue, we must in the very short term succeed in being attractive to doctors, in attracting competence and vitality. In the more medium term, we can be pleased with the creation of a CHU [university hospital center, editor’s note] in Orléans. It’s been talked about for decades; Jean Castex formalized it by decree on February 22. This is a first encouraging sign, ”replies Jean-Michel Blanquer immediately.

However, there is still much to do in these rural areas of the Centre-Val de Loire, which constitute the first medical desert in France. One hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants of Loiret – nearly a quarter of the department’s population – declare that they have no attending physician.

In order to get rid of the image of a “parachuted” candidate that sticks to his skin, the candidate swapped his ministerial files for La République du Center and L’Écho republican – two local newspapers. “The trial against me is unfair. I have been in the field for more than two weeks, traveling every day and meeting all Loiretans, ”defends Mr. Blanquer to Le Point. His critics insist that there would be no family ties: this is incorrect, one of his uncles was a canal engineer in Montargis.

In order to put a definitive end to the trial for illegitimacy brought before him, the former minister finally recalls that it is “very classic, in the history of the Republic, to go and marry a territory”. The deputy is also a representative of the nation; he is both a national legislator and a local actor. On the occasion of a public meeting organized in Château-Renard, a local resident, whose sympathies did not go to the former tenant of the hotel on rue de Grenelle, gave him reason: “I don’t understand this notion of parachuting. Who in this room was born in this department? No one in the audience raises their hand. And the man continued: “This is all nonsense. Xavier Deniau, who represented us for thirty years in the National Assembly, hardly knew Loiret before he settled there in 1962. Philippe Séguin, to whom the Vosges owe so much, arrived from Tunisia in the age of 20 and did not know this beautiful department any more than you and I did. And I could multiply the examples. »

“The word ‘parachuting’ suggests that I have been prepared a ready-made armchair. But that is absolutely not the case! notes Blanquer. Two weeks before the first round of the ballot, the battle promises to be fierce. The balance of power is not necessarily favorable to the former Minister of Education. The RN candidate, Thomas Ménagé, seeks to take advantage of the momentum of the presidential election to make the ballot a referendum for or against Blanquer. The candidate invested by the Nupes, the communist Bruno Nottin, enjoys a certain popularity, but internal dissensions could harm him – it is, as in other constituencies, a front alliance, the departmental representatives of the PS, LFI and EELV refusing to support this particularly divisive elected official.