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FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW – The National Front has announced major changes within its party, in particular the abandonment of exit from the euro, against a backdrop of internal war between Florian Philippot and certain executives of the movement. Bruno Bernard analyzes Marine Le Pen's party strategy.

Bruno Bernard is a former political adviser at the British Embassy.

FIGAROVOX.- After the double defeat of the presidential and legislative elections, the National Front seems determined to make major changes within its party, in particular by abandoning the exit from the euro which would be a “foil”. Could such a change broaden the National Front's electorate?

Bruno BERNARD.- In the introduction to your question, you speak of a "double defeat", so allow me to pick up on that and give you an analysis, which I hope is objective, of the National Front's recent electoral results.

If we understand the disappointment of a party that came second in the supreme election, it is essential to recall a few facts.

First of all, to obtain 10,6 million votes in the second round of a presidential election, to be the third political force in the country in number of votes after the legislative elections, to go from 2 to 8 deputies without benefiting from triangular votes, to have the the only deputy who stood for re-election and to bring his leader into the Assembly for the first time, are not the results of a party in disarray.

Then not being able to manage to form a parliamentary group while all the parties which achieved lower scores have more deputies, is certainly infuriating politically but makes it possible to illustrate the failure of our representative system, it is not useless.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” quote=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=””size=””]The results of the National Front are good or even excellent.[/perfectpullquote]

In conclusion, the results of the National Front are good, even excellent. An outside observer would consider that with La République En Marche and perhaps La France Insoumise, it is the only party to have the wind in its sails and the future ahead of it.

To analyze the results of 2017 as so many stinging defeats shows an immature and impatient party, wanting to ignore that the path to follow is one of slow but steady progress. Indeed the figures show that the enlargement of the National Front electorate has taken place.

Under these conditions, is the exit from the euro the ultimate brake that will allow the conquest of power? Since Maastricht, the French have shown that they know how to take courageous decisions in terms of European construction and would be capable of taking others to save what can still be saved from this misguided Europe. So that's why, for two reasons, I don't think that the anxiety-provoking nature of leaving the euro is a glass ceiling.

As Aquilino Morelle very well explained to Figaro Magazine referring to the results of the 2005 referendum on the Constitutional Treaty, "France is a country of the No governed by the Yes camp" for the simple reason that the Yes party offers a united front and that of the No does not. The results of the first round of the presidential election bear witness to this with a majority of votes for the grouped nonists. Following the same pro-European path that Jacques Chirac had the RPR take during the vote in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty would therefore be an error stemming from a poor appreciation of the current political situation.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]By abandoning the euro symbol, the Front National would give the impression, not of evolving, but of denying itself under the pressure of electoral results considered to be bad.[/perfectpullquote]

By abandoning this symbol, the Front National would give the impression, not of evolving, but of denying itself under the pressure of electoral results considered to be bad. It would be a deadly message sent to his constituents. That the party seeks better ideological coherence is natural, that it abandons some of its markers in the open countryside and it will suffer the fate of the parties which, by dint of denials and shame of what they are, disappear without a trace .

There is also talk of a name change, a measure often mentioned but never carried out. Will changing its name be enough for the National Front to become credible? Isn't that just grooming?

The National Front should ask the Republicans if a change of name and logo is enough to become credible and win elections.

More seriously, it is obvious that simple communication tricks will not be enough to give credibility to this party, especially after the disastrous debate between two rounds of Marine Le Pen which was, for once, a real opportunity to be credible.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]If the name Front National disappears, the name Le Pen will have to disappear with it because it is the first of the foils for the voters of other parties, in particular on the right.[/perfectpullquote]

If the name Front National disappears, the name Le Pen will have to disappear with it because it is the first of the foils for the voters of other parties, in particular on the right. Let's not forget that Emmanuel Macron was only chosen in the second round to prevent Marine Le Pen from winning, like Jacques Chirac in 2002 before him against Jean-Marie.

Echoing my introductory remarks, since 2002, the French right of government has changed its name twice and lost two presidential elections while constantly shrinking its electoral base. Conclusion if we only change the front and nothing in the store it is useless, we do not change the stripes of the zebra.

The internal war is still raging within the party and Florian Philippot said he was inflexible on the question of the euro, from which he wants to leave. Doesn't the internal crisis go beyond this precise point? Are there really "two lines" within the FN?

If there were two timelines of the Le Pen–Mégret split within the National Front, it appears that currently the lines merge with the people and that a hunt is open “for the Philippot and his friends”. These pay the fact of considering that a political life is possible outside the party and for certain to lack historical legitimacy. To hear some, we would almost forget that it is the Philippot strategy or at least presented as such that has allowed Marine Le Pen to be where she is. "The curse of the number two of the FN" would she have struck again to take the word of David Desgouilles in his interview with Sophie Montel for Conversationalist ?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”#993300″ size=””]The FN is going through a growing pains where Marine Le Pen believes she has to show authority even if it means chopping off heads too quickly.[/perfectpullquote]

This enlightening interview shows that the FN is going through a growth crisis where Marine Le Pen believes she has to show authority, even if it means chopping off heads too quickly and thus being able to point to partisan vindictiveness for those responsible for her failure in the presidential election other than her. .

There are not two lines within the FN, there are two camps and one is taking precedence over the other with the help of a leader who still seems stunned by his failed debate against to Emmanuel Macron and especially in the inability to give a course for the next 5 years to his party.

While the Republicans are struggling to recover from a painful presidential election, everything seems to be reconstructed on the right. The FN, if it operates an effective transformation, can it become the main right-wing force in the country?

Some would tell you that today the main right-wing force in the country is called La République En Marche, that the Republicans, unable to differentiate themselves on the merits, are losing their reason for existing a little more each day, but also that the National Front is ultimately closer to rebellious France than to a right-wing liberal-conservative party.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]It is not the right that should be rebuilt, it is in power. What must be built, taking up Morelle's reasoning, is the No side.[/perfectpullquote]

It is therefore not the right that should be rebuilt, it is in power. What must be built, taking up Morelle's reasoning, is the No camp, sovereignist, republican, Eurorealist and patriot. But in this enterprise, the National Front, bogeyman of the system, constitutes the first obstacle. It is not a question of a simple change but of a complete overhaul of a political side of France.

Emmanuel Macron's victory is a tactical marvel for the Yes camp but also a political blessing for the No camp, which finally has the chance to face a unified and worthy adversary. By gathering around him the talents of Yes Emmanuel Macron put an end to the opposition of postures and gave life to the UMPS so decried by the FN, calling it LREM. The diagnosis of the National Front on the parties of interchangeable government found itself validated by the new President who thus removed one of the best arguments from the FN by exposing this party for what it is: a political organization totally incapable of exercise power.

By way of holiday duty, the Front National could look into this essential question for the democratic life of our country: "should I disappear to allow a real opposition to be born?".

Hopefully the summer heat will bring some advice.




Source: “If the name Front National disappears, the name Le Pen will have to disappear with it”

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