It is without the slightest nostalgia that Laurent Nuñez will leave his post at the Elysee Palace as national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism (CNRLT). In private, he has never hidden his ambition to run for the head of the “PP”.

He sometimes mentioned the possibility of pursuing a political career as a deputy for Marseille, the city he loves, in order to then be able to hope to become Minister of the Interior. But, in front of his visitors, he struggled to hide his appetite for the police headquarters.

The position is prestigious, and at the same time, riddled with pitfalls. After three years of reign at the PP, Didier Lallement leaves this fortress on the Ile de la Cité, opposite the courthouse, on the fiasco of the Champions League final at the Stade de France between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the end of May .

Before him, Michel Delpuech, considered too lax, had been sacked in March 2019, three months after the ransacking of the Arc de Triomphe during act 3 of the “yellow vests”.

Laurent Nuñez will have very heavy challenges to face, starting with the preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, while many voices in the ranks of the police shout “daredevil” to ensure the security of the opening ceremony conceived as a great naval parade on the Seine.

Not to mention the management of public order and the accusations of police violence which have multiplied over the years, since the demonstrations in 2016 against the El Khomry law, named after the Minister of Labor of François Hollande.

The new boss of the PP arrives with assets. He knows all the workings of the house for having exercised the strategic functions of chief of staff of the prefect of police of Paris from 2012 to 2015. He has kept strong support and friendships there. So much so that the qualifiers that accompany it are often praiseworthy. “He’s a pro”, summarizes a senior police officer. “He knows the house” … even if he is not a pure police product, adds an officer of a direction of the PP. On the side of the unions, even unanimity.

As much as Didier Lallement is brittle and cultivates the art of distance with his interlocutors, Laurent Nuñez is jovial and seeks to please. Everything opposes them, including physically. One’s face is angular while the other’s is round.

-The president’s choice-

Ex-tax inspector passed by the ENA (Cyrano de Bergerac promotion), he joined the Ministry of the Interior in 1999. He was notably sub-prefect of Bayonne where he followed Basque affairs (2010-2012) after having been chief of staff to the prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis (2008-2010).

From 2015 to 2017, he held the also very sensitive position of police chief of Bouches-du-Rhône. Before briefly piloting (from 2017 to 2018) the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), he had been approached to head the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN).

It was in October 2018 that he crossed the Rubicon between the senior civil service and politics by becoming Secretary of State for the Interior under Christophe Castaner, appointed minister.

In the duo he formed with Mr. Castaner, he embodied “the expert”, “the man of the files”, but behind the specialist in security issues pointed a lover of the “field” who had also taken a liking to the Politics.

After leaving Place Beauvau, he returned to the Elysée with the Head of State to coordinate the “task force” against terrorism.

“By entering politics, he burned his ships. There will be no going back,” said one of his peers, a member of the prefectural body, after his surprise appointment to the government.

On Wednesday, he made his detractors lie by acceding to one of the most prestigious and strategic positions in the Republic. This choice is that of President Emmanuel Macron, even if the appointment is made on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior. Gérald Darmanin did not have a say, any more than Christophe Castaner had when Didier Lallement was appointed.

According to several sources close to government circles, the choice of Gérald Darmanin fell on Nicolas Lerner, current boss of the DGSI, to whom he had promised the post.

Before Emmanuel Macron, all the presidents watched like milk on the fire over the appointment of the boss of the PP, the best informed in the capital.