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After the Benalla affair, the Elysée reorganized on all floors to avoid new "dysfunctions"

President Emmanuel Macron organized an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace to talk about "yellow vests" on Sunday, December 2, 2018. – AFP

While many "malfunctions" have been singled out since the first revelations of the Benalla affair, on July 22, the Elysee decided to undertake a major reorganization, even changing the bodyguard
Emmanuel Macron.

On Wednesday, while making its findings public, the senatorial commission of inquiry did not hesitate to speak of "major dysfunctions" in the organization of the presidency, saying that the president's safety had been "affected" by the acts without control of Alexandre Benalla, officially "in charge of mission" of the president.

"Malfunctions" "unbearable and incomprehensible for the French"

This word "malfunctions" keeps coming back to describe this case that has shaken the executive since last summer. He is quoted from the beginning, July 22, when the head of state asks Alexis Kohler, his right hand, proposals to reorganize the presidency to avoid "new dysfunctions". Benjamin Griveaux, government spokesman
has, also, recently recognized "dysfunctions at the Elysee" which "are unbearable and incomprehensible to the French."

The question is very sensitive because the Elysee is a "complex machine" which employs some 820 people with very different profiles between permanent employees, sometimes present for decades and made available by ministries, and those who arrive in the wake of the election of the president.

The functioning of the Elysee Palace described as "unsuitable", "archaic" or "opaque"

Alexandre Benalla was one of them. He followed Emmanuel Macron after showing his utility during the campaign closer to the candidate he protects. In their report, senators point out "the freedom of action" that the head of state has given him since his entry to the Elysee. Up to encroach, according to them, on the prerogatives of the services responsible for ensuring the safety of the President at the Elysee and during travel.

For decades, critics have been recurrent on the way the Elysée operates, often described as "unsuitable" for the fifth world power, "archaic" or "opaque", and sometimes weakened by personal ambitions. and competition between services. Upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron wanted to adapt and modernize it, with the experience of two years spent as adviser to François Hollande. An internal audit was launched, showing the frustration of many employees with the failures of human resources management.

The Elysée reorganized around four poles

In the beginning, the new president limited to 45 the number of cabinet advisers appointed in the Official Journal. But there are also collaborators who do not appear in the organization chart, like Alexandre Benalla. Reorganization accelerates after the Benalla affair that breaks out in the summer of 2018. In September, Emmanuel Macron appoints a general director of services, Jerome Rivoisy, whose appointment was formalized in the Official Journal in early February.

Coming from the same promotion of the ENA and former deputy director general of Pôle emploi, the latter launches a reorganization around four directions: security, gathering protection outside the walls and inside the palace; resources and modernization (purchasing, wealth, HR, budget, finances, archives); communication (press, standard, eve …) and operations (stewardship, events and presidential trips, support function type printing). In this context, a few dozen employees must be transferred to buildings located in the Alma district, such as the switchboard.

Several departures among the faithful of the President of the Republic

This administrative reorganization is taking place at the same time as a disruption of the president's direct entourage, weakened by the Benalla affair and then by the crisis of "yellow vests". Have thus announced their departure from the faithful among the faithful, as
Sylvain Fort, director of communication and pen of the president,
Ismaël Emelien, "special advisor", as well as Stéphane Séjourné, political advisor.

All have not been replaced yet, but a new special adviser, Philippe Grangeon, is responsible, with his experience, to help Emmanuel Macron to launch "act 2" of his five-year period with the great debate. At the same time, measures are being taken to avoid "malfunctions" on the use of Elysée facilities (vehicles, service passports, etc.) highlighted by the Benalla affair. Several collaborators have also been asked, according to a source at the Elysee, to return their diplomatic passport, an eminently symbolic measure in this phase of turbulence.


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