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"Make our planet great again", "crazy cash" … Who is Ismael Emelien, Macron's adviser on departure?

Emmanuel Macron and Ismaël Emelien (right) in 2016. – Jean-Francois Badias / AP / SIPA

"Make our planet great again" but also "roped first" it's him. Ismail Emelien, who announced Monday his departure from the Elysee, has embodied better than anyone the disruption with Emmanuel Macron he accompanied, still in the shadows, the beginnings of En Marche! until the exercise of power.

Around Emmanuel Macron, 31-year-old Ismaël Emelien was the creative and innovative counterpart of the manager Alexis Kohler, the secretary general of the Elysée. A complementary trio which, amputated by the special adviser, loses salt. Ismail Emelien thus defined his position apart alongside the head of state: "offer options and the president decides".

Shadow Man

Installed on the second floor of the Elysee, in the former office of Emmanuel Macron when he was Deputy Secretary General of François Hollande, Ismail Emelien was the box of ideas of the Head of State. Until the provocation when he suggested in June the broadcast on social networks of a video where Emmanuel Macron talks about social assistance that cost, according to him, "a dough crazy".

He is keen on polls and opinion studies that allow him, he believes, to sniff out the times from his office. But like others, he did not see the unprecedented crisis of "yellow vests" coming.

Ismaël Emelien studied with a mentor, Gilles Finchelstein, head of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and director of studies at Havas (formerly Euro RSCG). The two men tied in 2006 around the candidacy for the socialist primary of Dominique Stauss-Kahn. Emelien, then 19, a student at Sciences Po and fresh from Grenoble, had managed to join the campaign team. At HQ, rue de la Planche in Paris, he meets future pillars of the macronie: Stanislas Guerini, boss of En Marche, Benjamin Griveaux, spokesman for the government, and Cédric O, adviser at the Elysée.

Doubled by the defeat of DSK against Ségolène Royal, these little hands will keep a strong friendship and Ismaël Emelien will be quick to remind them when it is necessary to found En Marche! and put Emmanuel Macron into orbit.

He meets Macron at 21

In the footsteps of Gilles Finchelstein, the young company learns opinion analysis, strategic advice to bosses (he advises Antoine Frérot at Veolia), but also develops the campaign strategy. If his first meeting with Emmanuel Macron goes back to the end of 2008, as part of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, a friendship will be established from 2012, when in the company of Gilles Finchelstein they will reflect on the implementation of the pact of responsibility wanted by François Hollande.

When in July 2014, Emmanuel Macron leaves the Elysée, it is question of founding a start-up in the field of education with Ismaël Emelien and another young growth, Julien Denormandie. A project aborted by the appointment to the Ministry of Economy Macron, which will logically call his firm two partners.

Since Bercy, Emelien will be the thinking head and the arm of the creation of En Marche! He will recruit a small commando to launch the movement, in secret, and will be five months ahead of the exit of Emmanuel Macron of the government to coordinate communication, doctrine etc.

Allergic to the spotlight, "Ismaël theorized his job as a shadow trade. It's both a question of conviction and predisposition, "says a friend. Another close completes: "he considers that one should not reveal the kitchens, that one does not show what is behind the curtain".

The shadow of the Benalla Affair

Ismael Emelien has been implicated in the Benalla affair since the ex-official of the president told the investigators that he had transmitted videos obtained illegally from the police, destined to exculpate him in the course of the violence of the 1st. may. These images were found on pro-Macron Twitter accounts.

The world recently revealed that investigators suspected the special advisor had actually recovered these illicit videos. In July, in a conversation whose recording was published by Médiapart, Alexandre Benalla prides himself on having the support in the May 1 issue of "Isma" which "advises him on the media and company". An embarrassing link, especially since, according to Médiapart, Alexandre Benalla is at the heart of a contract signed with a Russian oligarch, close to President Vladimir Putin, while he was still in office at the Elysee Palace.

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