Posted on June 11, 2024

Le Pen’s National Rally Snubs Electoral Pact With Nationalist Reconquête Over Fears of Associating With Zemmour

Thomas Brooke, Remix, June 11, 2024

The National Rally (RN) has snubbed the offer of an electoral pact with the hard-right Reconquête party over fears of affiliating with its leader Éric Zemmour, Reconquête’s leading MEP Marion Maréchal announced on Tuesday.

In a statement posted on social media, Maréchal revealed how she had held several meetings with the RN leadership of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella following President Macron’s decision on Sunday to dissolve the French National Assembly and call a snap election.

“For two days, I have been fighting to bring about a grand coalition of the right and patriots in order to defeat Macronism and confront the threat of the left and the far-left in a coalition,” she wrote.

“With this in mind, I met yesterday with Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, and today with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan,” the founder and president of the minor French political party, Debout la France.

“As we were about to finalize an agreement providing for the representation of the 1.4 million Reconquête voters in the European elections in a legislative coalition, Jordan Bardella informed me this afternoon of a change of position and the refusal of the RN of the very principle of an agreement,” she explained.

Maréchal claimed that the RN leadership had cited its refusal to have “any direct or indirect association” with her party’s leader, Éric Zemmour, as its “regrettable argument” for reneging on the proposed pact.

The recently elected right-wing MEP called the “sudden and contradictory decision” a “great disappointment for France and expressed her hope that the refusal to agree upon a comprehensive right-wing alliance does not lead to a victory for Macron’s centrists, “or even worse, a victory of the coalition of the Left and the extreme Left.”

An alliance appeared to be in the offing, with Maréchal extending an olive branch to RN, the clear winners in Sunday’s European elections with nearly a third of all votes. The right-wing party is now the joint-largest faction in the European Parliament alongside Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU).

Earlier on Tuesday, the news broke among the French media that RN had agreed to an electoral pact with the center-right Les Républicains (LR) in the upcoming legislative elections, and it was expected this pact would be extended to include Reconquête and give right-wing candidates the best possible opportunity of unseating the current French government.

It is unclear whether LR President Éric Ciotti agreed to such a pact on the condition that Zemmour was excluded from talks.

It may be that RN feels confident enough of placing in the top two in the majority of the seats it contests in the first round of voting on June 30 without the support of Zemmour’s voters and the inclusion of Zemmour in any future government and believes that said voters will support the LR-RN candidate in any subsequent run-off against a left-wing or centrist candidate on July 7.

The calculated risk will see an initial split of the right-wing vote, but if successful, it will further consolidate RN’s dominance within any future center-right to right-wing coalition government.