Posted on June 15, 2024

In France, the RN Is the Spoiler

Timothy Vorgenss, American Renaissance, June 15, 2024

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On June 9, at 8:59 PM, President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of the French National Assembly after acknowledging Jordan Bardella, president of the National Rally (RN, the successor to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front) had trounced Macron’s party in the European Elections, winning 31.4 percent of the vote.

Marion Maréchal, Marine Le Pen’s niece and candidate for Eric Zemmour’s Reconquête!, the most strongly identitarian party, scored 5.4 percent. With the RN improving its performance by 9 points, Reconquête boosted the score for the nationalist camp. No one expected such a violent slap in the face for Mr. Macron’s camp, which barely managed to get 15 percent of the vote.

Marion Maréchal. Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dissolution of the National Assembly automatically triggers legislative elections. The first round will take place on June 30, leaving only a few days for the parties to choose candidates, set strategy, and — most important — form alliances.

In France’s two-round election system, multi-party alliances are crucial. If no candidate wins outright in the first round, the top vote-getters face off in the second. If all the parties on the Left, for example, are in alliance, the less promising candidates drop out so as not to split the votes for the Left, thus improving the chances of beating any candidate(s) on the Right.

Did Mr. Macron hope to take advantage of the chaos he created by dissolving parliament and calling snap elections? He certainly created chaos.

Let’s go back to that evening of June 9. It was an eventful day. After Mr. Macron’s announcement, Marion Maréchal stepped onto the Reconquête! podium, Éric Zemmour and the four other elected members behind her. She congratulated them on their victories in the Euro-elections, reminded them that the 40 percenct of Reconquête! and RN combined is still 11 percent shy of a majority, and noted that during the campaign, she never attacked the RN, which may be a rival but not an enemy.

Éric Zemmour stopped applauding. Marion Maréchal announced in front of a dismayed Mr. Zemmour that she is ready to meet in the coming days to work out an alliance with Jordan Bardella of the RN, Éric Ciotti (president of the old Gaullist party called the Republicans), and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a minor nationalist candidate. She hoped for a joint campaign that could win a resounding majority for the Right, with the young RN leader Jordan Bardella as prime minister.

Jordan Bardella. European Parliament, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Marion Maréchal, who believed in a union of the Right, then suffered a great disappointment after meeting with her aunt, leader of the RN. This meeting was supposed to be on Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m. In fact, Marion Maréchal secretly met Marine Le Pen at noon, thus keeping Mr. Zemmour and his top aide Sarah Knafo in the dark.

But after hinting publicly at a possible alliance with Reconquête!, Mrs. Le Pen and several members of her team decided they could not trust Mr. Zemmour’s people and rejected any possibility of a political alliance.

Of course, by inviting Marion Maréchal to this discussion and playing on her hopes for a union of the Right, Marine Le Pen made it impossible for her niece to go back to Reconquête!. Marine Le Pen has not forgotten that Reconquête! “stole” some of her top people during the last presidential election campaign in 2022.

Éric Zemmour made a strategic mistake by attacking the RN throughout the Euro-elections. Marion Maréchal, who seems to have sharper political instincts, saw the Bardella wave rising high and thought it prudent to ride with it. Mr. Zemmour did the opposite.

Unable to broaden his focus beyond ideological purity, Mr. Zemmour forgot about strategic alliances. Mr. Zemmour now accuses Miss Maréchal of betraying him, while she believes he ruined everything with his policy of constantly attacking RN. The Le Pen camp took the attacks from the president of Reconquête! very badly, and this helps explain its refusal to enter into an alliance.

Interviewed on television the next day, June 11, Éric Zemmour showed a very emotional side of his personality, which surprised everyone. This was a wounded, almost politically naive, Zemmour. He spoke very harshly of his former ally, Miss Maréchal, and called her attempt to return to the Le Pen fold “family reunification,” as if she were an illegal immigrant bringing in cousins and brothers. He referred to her as “Mrs. Maréchal Le Pen,” just the way left-wing journalists do, to underscore her status as the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen. This rancor was a terrible disservice to everyone on the Right.

Something else tipped the scales against union between RN and Reconquête!. The RN does not need Reconquête!. It knows that nationalist voters are terrified, with good reason, of the prospect of a Left/Far-left victory.

Marion Maréchal bravely told her followers to vote for the benefit of France, not just her party: “Vote for the right-wing union with Jordan Bardella.”

On June 13, Mr. Zemmour’s lieutenant Sarah Knafo made a surprising overture. During a popular television program, she made a direct appeal for unity to Marine Le Pen. She was trying to control the damage of Zemmour’s vindictive performance.

But the RN executives know that Reconquête! is untrustworthy. As the website l’Incorrect pointed out, the party prevented Miss Maréchal from accessing the party’s Telegram channels and email addresses of supporters. The Zemmour-Knafo team humiliated her. Mr. Zemmour took away her speaking time in favor of himself. Is he jealous of the pretty blonde with blue eyes? There is a pattern here. Volunteers, executives, anyone who displeases Zemmour-Knafo is humiliated.

L’Incorrect reports what happened after the last attempt at unity on the Right. There was a special meeting of the Reconquête executive committee. It did not last long. Marion Maréchal raged at Éric Zemmour and Sarah Knafo: “It’s your fault that the union didn’t happen. Deal with it!” She turned on the leader of the youth group, Stanislas Rigault, and told him that if, because of disunity on the Right, he is not elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the snap elections, “you can blame yourself and your little friends who leaked to the press to sabotage my campaign.”

Éric Zemmour told her to get out. She was later followed by Guillaume Peltier and Nicolas Bay — two important figures on the nationalist Right. The divorce is finalized, the party’s future uncertain. Marion Maréchal tried everything to unite the Right but failed.

An unexpected “hero” emerges: Éric Ciotti. He is the president of the Republicans, a soft-right party like the American Republican Party. On June 11, he announced that he wanted an alliance on the Right with the RN.

Eric Ciotti. European People’s Party, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

France is stunned. This would mean breaking the cordon sanitaire that had always isolated the RN and rendered the French right powerless and ineffective for 40 years. The Republicans had always refused to form electoral alliances with what they called “extremes,” but Éric Ciotti finally decided to end the rule that the French Right always be nothing but a soft Left.

The Republican executives — political cowards — were aghast. They decided to remove Mr. Ciotti from his position as president of the Republicans. On June 12, Geoffroy Didier announced that it was not a matter of “convincing Mr. Ciotti to leave but of forcing him,” “physically if necessary.” Except that the party by-laws do not permit this. A judge issued a ruling on Friday, June 15: Mr. Ciotti remains president.

In this climate of chaos on the Right, the Left and the Far-left united, papering over their differences. The Jewish deputy Raphaël Glucksmann, head of the Socialists, now even accepts association with the pro-Hamas Left, if that is what it takes to block the RN — the “extreme right.”

The Left seems unconsciously to consider non-whites their inferiors. Yes, they are allying with the Islamist Far-right, but they believe they can reeducate Muslims, convert them to the great leftist revolution. They don’t seem to know how this story ends; they can’t break their habit of refusing to see reality.

The divisions on the Right may reflect even worse bad faith than we thought. Jordan Bardella’s father-in-law, Philippe Olivier — a close advisor to Marine Le Pen — is now claiming openly that the aim all along was to smash both the respectable Right — the Republicans — and the identitarian Right, Reconquête!. He certainly got his wish. Reconquête! has been split in two and the Republicans are in turmoil, trying to oust their own leader.

This reflects very badly on RN and Marine Le Pen. Since its founding in 1972, the party has been treated like lepers by every “respectable” party and forced to fight every election alone. Now, it is giving its natural allies exactly the same treatment, opening the door to a colossal victory by a united Left.

In just a few days, we will know if France will take a great step towards national sovereignty or will collapse into leftist, multiracial disintegration.