It is, for Marine Le Pen, a birthday. Ten years ago, on January 16, 2011, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen took over the presidency of the National Front (FN), largely defeating her rival Bruno Gollnisch at the Congress of Tours, after forty years of unchallenged reign of his father, the patriarch of the far right. “Thank you all for your messages of encouragement, tweeted Saturday, January 16 the president, after the traditional flood of congratulations celebrating the anniversary. Your commitment fills me with pride and your affection is very precious to me. The most beautiful, the greatest is in front of us… for France! “
Ten years later, Marine Le Pen’s record is certainly not negligible. She collected 10.6 million votes in the second round of the 2017 presidential election, a historic record – Jean-Marie Le Pen had obtained 3.8 million in the first round in 2007, his daughter 6.4 million in 2012 and then 7 , 7 million in the first round in 2017 -, and the momentum seems to be maintained. The list carried by Jordan Bardella, the young vice-president of the party, won the European elections of May 2019 with 23.34% of the vote.
Two very strong rejections
Marine Le Pen, who is due to present her wishes to the press on Monday January 25, is still given as the main competitor of Emmanuel Macron, seventeen months before the presidential election, even if the political landscape is as ever-changing. An IFOP-Fiducial poll for CNews and Sud Radio in June 2020 even credited the president of the National Rally (RN) with 45% of the voting intentions in the second round, if it was necessary to vote immediately. And above all 40% of the voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2017 would be ready to vote for her, and 33% of those of François Fillon.
Still, the last points to approach a majority are the most difficult. Marine Le Pen still bites very little on the elderly electorate – the one who votes the most – on that of graduates and that of the middle classes. But the scenario is unprecedented: Emmanuel Macron, like Marine Le Pen, are both the subject of very strong rejection. Will anti-lepenism be stronger than anti-macronism? In 2017, only the loathing of lepenism was at stake.
In reality, Marine Le Pen has some way to go, and the RN retains many of the FN’s weaknesses. In terms of local presence, first of all. The results of the 2020 municipal elections are very mixed. The RN has certainly kept the ten small towns that it managed and removed Perpignan, its only city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, but we are far from a municipal frontism, including in its two strongholds, the South-East and the North-east. It is also not certain that the party triumphs in the regional ones planned for the moment in June 2021: even if the RN tries to broaden its base by putting forward defectors from the classic right as candidates, it mainly presents executives whose notoriety is modest.
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