Marine Le Pen’s niece suggests support for Zemmour and ultra-right split in France

Marine Le Pen’s niece suggests support for Zemmour and ultra-right split in France

Psychodrama, betrayal, coup. These were some of the terms used in France to refer to the possible support of Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen, to journalist Eric Zemmour in the presidential election scheduled for April 10th.

In a country that since 2017 has been mostly divided between the centrism of Emmanuel Macron and the radical right, represented in that election by Le Pen, the statement by the former deputy generated a stir in this field. Especially since in 2022 the far right itself split, with the entry on the scene of the polemicist known for evoking the xenophobic theory of the so-called “Great Replacement”, according to which native French were being replaced by Muslim and black African migrants – he has already been condemned. for inciting hatred against this group.

A few days ago, Marion told journalists that he might lean on Zemmour’s side and promised to take a definitive stand at the end of this month, which is when the campaign begins to take shape, after the winter break — Macron has until March 4 to declare yourself a candidate.

The latest surveys indicate a slight advantage of the leader of the National Meeting (RN) for a place in the second round against the current president. Ifop poll for Paris Match magazine published on Thursday (3) showed Macron in the lead with 25% of the voting intentions and, behind him, Marine Le Pen (18%), the center-right candidate Valérie Pécresse (Republicans, 15, 5%) and Zemmour (14%).

The aunt said that not having the support of her niece would be “a brutal and violent blow”, and the patriarch Jean-Marie tried to calm the spirits of both on Twitter, saying that he would like to find his daughter and granddaughter in the next few days, and then give his opinion about the election. Zemmour, meanwhile, reacted with some glee. “Marion Maréchal is an old friend, a formidable woman,” he said in the TV France 2 studio. For him, the young heiress of the Le Pen clan is not adept at perfidy: “It’s not treason, it’s politics.”

Political analyst and director of the Ipsos Flair program at the Ipsos research institute, Yves Bardon, tends to agree. “I don’t see betrayal, but Marion’s extremely strong disagreements with her aunt and the ideological line of the National Reunion,” he says. “Very opposing positions on things like abortion, same-sex marriage, the European Union, the economy.”

For him, an eventual support of the former deputy to Zemmour would be consistent with his trajectory. “A betrayal would be like a stab in the back, catching you off guard. In that case, there is a huge amount of disagreement that has accumulated and added to emotional wounds – the aunt has already said, for example, that she was too inexperienced to be a minister , who owed him no favors.”

Bardon also recalls that Marine Le Pen has spent the last few years in a process to “de-devilize” her party — which included changing its name from the National Front to the National Rally —, promoting a certain modernization of its positions and trying to ward off objections such as anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, Marion Maréchal has remained true to traditional far-right values, which Zemmour seeks to revive.

Born in December 1989, Marion is the granddaughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. Raised and educated in early childhood by her mother and aunt, Marine, she was later adopted by her stepfather, from whom she inherited her current surname. In 2008, she entered politics, and four years later, at 22, she became the youngest French MP with the highest percentage of votes in her grandfather’s party.

At the end of her term, as her aunt reached the second round of the presidential election against Macron, the ultraconservative declared that she would leave political life. The 2022 election, therefore, is now being influenced by a young woman with no mandate and no electoral pretensions — at least for now.

Asked whether the probable support for Zemmour, to which other RN staff have already joined, would be a strategy to come out the winner of a future presidential election by uniting their political field, Bardon thinks that Marion will not even wait and will run for the legislative this year. same year.

And he adds: in five years, at 37, he could indeed become the face of the radical right. “She lines up with this almost Maurrassian right [referência ao poeta Charles Maurras, um antissemita virulento]counterrevolutionary”, he says. “It says that we cannot reduce France to the Republic, when for everyone, especially for its opponents, France is the Republic.”

Professor and researcher at Sciences Po in Grenoble, Florent Gougou classifies Marion Maréchal as someone unreadable, but sees her lining up with the party on the right that does not consider Marine Le Pen a candidate with real chances of winning.

“The tension in the RN comes from 2017, when Le Pen, in the second round, was unable to surpass a level that allowed it to be competitive against Macron.” She lost the election with 34% of the vote, against 66% for the current president. “This diagnosis, which is what leveraged Zemmour’s campaign, is shared by a large part of the radical right”, analyzes Gougou.

It would have, on the other hand, its militants and the political apparatus of its party, more robust than those of the newly created Reconquista, Zemmour’s legend. “But he, with his provocative strategy, has installed questions of identity and immigration at the heart of French political life,” she says. “Radical right-wing parties have controlled the election agenda, leaving everyone to take a stand on it — including communist candidate Fabien Roussel, who talks about wine and the French way of life.”

Another thing that opposes Zemmour and Le Pen is the relationship with foreign leaders in their political field — with the exception of the Hungarian Viktor Orbán, praised by both. The RN candidate says she does not identify with the methods of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), while the journalist has already been compared by the French media to Donald Trump and the Brazilian.

“Even though the profiles of Zemmour and Bolsonaro are different, they have similarities in the very radical hate speech that aims to divide society,” says Sciences Po professor Paris Gaspard Estrada. “Le Pen refutes comparisons with Bolsonaro because, abroad, there is unanimity against him, particularly in France. Any rapprochement with the Brazilian president would be negative for his campaign.”

Not only does she avoid contact, but she criticizes Bolsonaro on several occasions, recalls Estrada. “What is not the case of Zemmour, who even gave an interview to leaf at the end of last year, signaling a certain proximity to the Brazilian head of state.”

Source: Folha

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