PARIS: Jordan Bardella should take over the presidency of the RN on Saturday, allowing Marine Le Pen to focus on the Assembly and its Elysian ambitions intact. But the exclusion of an RN deputy for remarks deemed racist disrupts the expected induction.
The RN seemed caught up in its old demons when its deputies, including Marine Le Pen, were the only ones to remain seated on Friday when the vote was taken in the hemicycle for the temporary exclusion of Grégoire de Fournas, elected from Gironde, after the wave of indignation aroused by his remarks deemed to be racist.
The strategy of trivialization of the party, which Jordan Bardella has promised to pursue, is shaken. Especially since the sanctioned deputy has regularly shown his support for the candidate.
Initially, however, the weekend was to be an opportunity to orchestrate a quiet transition in a party with a checkered history. Indeed the result of the members’ vote, which will be revealed on Saturday morning at the Mutualité in Paris, must put an end to a false suspense: after three months of campaigning, no one imagines that the interim president will fail against his rival, the mayor of Perpignan Louis Aliot.
“The question is the extent of his victory”, sums up an executive, while the MEP has set himself the objective of obtaining at least 67.65% of the votes, the score obtained by Marine Le Pen against to Bruno Gollnisch to succeed Jean-Marie Le Pen eleven years ago.
It is for Marine Le Pen to free herself from sometimes thankless internal tasks, while the epicenter of the RN is now in the National Assembly, where the deputy of Pas-de-Calais shines on a group of 89 elected officials and consolidates its political and media base more than ever.
Relieved of the stewardship of the RN, in particular of the thorny financial equation, she will be able to refine a fourth presidential candidacy in five years, which no one in the party dares to question.
Jordan Bardella, he will have to find his place, while the party has often reserved a cruel fate for its number two – “the dolphin’s destiny is sometimes to run aground”, had summed up in his time Jean-Marie Le Pen.
He has for him to have experienced a meteoric rise, started in 2019 when he took the lead of the RN list for the Europeans, before winning the interim presidency of the party last year.
Originally from Seine-Saint-Denis, the one who celebrated his 27th birthday in mid-September was mainly revealed during the presidential campaign through televised debates where his ease and skill sometimes put seasoned opponents in difficulty.
Popular with the militant base, Mr. Bardella praises his “singular relationship of invaluable trust” with Marine Le Pen, to whom he regularly swears fidelity and loyalty.
But he is presented by some executives as “the creature” of the boss of the French far right.
Beyond his own ambitions, it is his line, even his political friendships that his detractors highlight, the MEP being suspected of acquaintances with “identity” and too much leniency towards those who had left at Eric Zemmour.
In mid-October, his eagerness to participate in a demonstration initiated by Reconquête! after the murder of the young Lola in Paris – he gave it up in extremis – accentuated the trouble: does he have the necessary flair, what are his real convictions?
The only RN councilor in a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, Louis Aliot quickly rushed into the breach, castigating in a tribune “the excesses practiced by the National Front of another time”, the “identitarians” and, above all, “followers of the ‘great replacement'”. An expression that only Jordan Bardella took up on his own, in August 2021, when Marine Le Pen has always opposed it with great circumspection.
Jordan Bardella reproached in the JDD “bitterness and bad faith”. “He misunderstood,” replied Louis Aliot.
The man who led the National Youth Front in the 90s highlights his experience and his responsibilities as a local elected official as much as a form of political openness – he recruited a former collaborator of the late socialist leader Georges Frêche.
Louis Aliot hopes to be able to rely on a correct score to weigh in the next direction.