Marine Le Pen will relinquish the baton of the far-right National Rally at the November congress and two figures very close to her have confirmed their intention to preside over the main opposition party: the young MEP Jordan Bardella and the veteran politician and mayor of Perpignan, Louis Aliot.
Although she will continue as the de facto leader of the formation, from her position as head of ranks of her 89 deputies in the French Assembly, Le Pen54 years old, decided that it was time to divest himself of his party responsibilities precisely to focus on that parliamentary work.
The race is launched and, at the moment, there are two applicants from two totally different generations. His current right arm and his niece’s partner, Jordan Bardella (26 years old), on the one hand; and the one who was his partner for 10 years (2009-2019), Aliot (52), on the other.
“There will be no fratricidal war”Le Pen temporized this week, at a press conference before Parliament’s summer break.
”I will let this fundamental democratic competition develop normally”added the far-right leader, at the insistence of journalists.
The finalist of the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections stated that “will not take sides” by neither of the two applicants, despite their evident harmony with Bardellawho has held the provisional presidency since Le Pen embarked on the presidential battle last spring.
Born in 1995 in the Parisian suburbs of the Saint-Denis department to an immigrant family of Italian origin, the young man with slicked-back hair and a slender figure has had a dazzling and early rise. He has been a militant since he was 16, secretary of the party (then called the National Front) since he was 19 and parliamentary assistant since he was 20.
In 2019, when he was not yet 23, Marine Le Pen appointed him head of the list for the European elections to the astonishment of many. The National Grouping (RN, acronym in French) won those elections in France and became the second youngest MEP in the history of the European Parliament.
It’s not just the political relationship that binds Bardella to Marine. The young man from Saint-Denis is also the partner of one of his nieces and a regular at family gatherings of the Le Pen clan.
THE EX OF LE PEN, IN LIZA
Personal ties also link the leader of the RN with the other candidate, Louis Aliot. Both they were a couple for a decade and, at least publicly, their relationship seems to have not deteriorated.
The experienced politician values the experience gained in his 30 years of militancy and his tenacity, rewarded in 2020. That year, he conquered the Perpignan City Council, the most populous city (120,000 inhabitants) governed by the extreme right.
Aliot’s step to the helm, given just before the summer holidays, is unusual in a formation associated with uncontested leadership (the founder Jean-Marie Le Pen was at the helm for 40 years and his daughter Marine for a decade with almost no confrontation of ideas ).
”Marine has decided to leave the presidency (of the RN), that opens up new possibilities. There is no reason for there to be only one candidate (alluding to Bardella)”said Aliot, aware that the great favorite is his rival, a protégé of the current leader.
The political lines of both opponents are similar, although with some nuances.
Bardella maintains a harsher anti-immigration tendency, in the style of the polemicist and former presidential candidate Éric Zemmour (defender of a conspiracy plan that would replace the Jewish-Christian population with an Arab-Muslim population).
For his part, Aliot has made an effort to distance himself from Zemmour’s semantics and is more in favor of circumscribing the fight to what they call Muslim “sectarianism” within France.
For Le Pen, one or the other wins, the foundations of the ultra-nationalist project that she has relaunched are not at risk. “The two are aligned in the political line that I have defended for 20 years,” she assured.
Like their patron, Bardella and Aliot play the respectability card. Both boast of having contributed to normalizing the image of a party that at its foundation 50 years ago had nostalgics for the pro-Nazi Vichy regime and that today is the first opposition formation to the president, Emmanuel Macron.
(with information from EFE)
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