Marine Le Pen has not been able to use the legislative campaign to strengthen her position. Although Marion-Maréchal Le Pen announced her (probably temporary) retirement from politics, the national-liberal wing of the National Front could gain momentum. Marine Le Pen was also forced to deliver a public mea culpa because of her performance in the debate. And Jean-Marie Le Pen also decided to nominate candidates against the FN…
Maréchal-Le Pen retires
The retirement of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was sadly noted by the eldest Le Pen. He most probably said what a good party of the National Front believed. (He even called the decision revocable and criticized the move, calling it a “desertion”.) For the liberal-national wing of the party, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen had been a sense of hope. Thus the disappointment. But now, this wing, even without a leading figure, may gain points against the social-sovereignist Le Pen-Philippot wing. Here’s why.
Since the second round of the presidential election, there has been a serious, intense debate within the National Front. What to think about Frexit and about abandoning the Euro? Le Pen has already tried to soften her position between the two rounds (to not lose voters in the center). But it resulted in a rather cacophonous situation. The cacophony, in my opinion, would have been excusable, since moderation was strategically justified. But the situation has become inviable, when this strategic caution culminated in an aggressive, heated, poorly managed debate performance. Anyway, Marine Le Pen had to admit publicly that she had chosen a wrong tactic for the debate. As a result, it is likely that FN will once again debate an old plan which was already on the agenda a year or two ago. It is about abandoning plans to ditch the Euro and giving up hopes of Frexit.
Philippot, Marine Le Pen: the end of a political friendship?
Vice-president Florian Philippot threatens to leave the party if the FN gives up its plans concerning the Euro and Frexit. (Besides his position, considered by many as “blackmail”, he’s also created his own association called Les Patriotes within the FN.)
The breakup of the – so far – united Philippe-Le Pen pair is now quite likely to happen. Now, Marine Le Pen is in a position where sacrificing Philippot may be the price to pay in order to maintain her position within the FN. It seems that Le Pen is open to ditching Frexit plans. The final decision will be made at the party’s next congress. In fact, the party chairwoman herself has already talked about Philippot’s possible leaving…
Papa Le Pen launches attack
Marine Le Pen must cope not only with internal discontent, but also with her own father.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, together with a radical right wing alliance, announced that they would nominate candidates against the FN in June. However, the former party chairman also made a gesture: he did not act directly against his own daughter. In Marine’s district, there will be no radical right wing challenger…. Regardless, for Marine Le Pen, the problem still remains a problem… and not small one. Therefore, stabilizing her power is becoming more and more urgent (luckily for her, there is no real leadership alternative in the party after Maréchal’s withdrawal from politics).
Marine Le Pen would reassert her authority over the party…
… if the party did well in June, won 10-15 seats, indicating the continuous strengthening of the Front. However, this would require party unity. Of course, where the FN is very strong as a brand, Jean-Marie Le Pen could gain no more than some blackmailing potential for the second round. In other words, he is not necessarily capable to prevent FN candidates to get to the second round. But gaining blackmailing potential would also mean the strengthening of the national liberal wing, again, against Marine Le Pen’s the sovereignists-gaullists. And back to square one!
It is very interesting to see and analyze what is currently happening within the National Front. Of course, I will continue to pay attention and follow the debate.
(Featured image: Marine Le Pen’s official campaign material)