NewsFar-right candidate Bardella poised to reshape French politics

Far‑right candidate Bardella poised to reshape French politics

Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen
Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen
Images source: © Getty Images | 2022 Chesnot
ed. PRC

25 June 2024 12:42

Jordan Bardella, chairman of the French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN), quickly rose through the group's ranks. Marine Le Pen supports him and diverts attention from the populists' controversial slogans and economic ideas. Now, he may become the Prime Minister of France.

"Bardella’s rapid ascent in the party has earned him the nickname of being Le Pen’s "lion cub", writes CNBC.

After President Emmanuel Macron took a risky step by dissolving the National Assembly following unfavourable European Parliament elections for his party, Bardella's path opened up, which may lead him to the position of Prime Minister.

According to CNBC, if the populists gain the upper hand, he, the energetic and eloquent 28-year-old from the poor suburbs of Paris, would have the most excellent chance of leading the new government.

According to the division of competencies within the French system, the Prime Minister would significantly impact France's domestic and economic policy. At the same time, Macron, as President, would remain responsible for foreign policy and defence.

The problem is that, as commentators on the French political scene point out. However, Bardella's magnetism attracts young voters, and his presence appeals to women; he lacks specifics and proposals for solving pressing issues. Politics takes a back seat to promotion, writes CNBC.

"Bardella effect"

Despite this, for Le Pen, who is increasingly anointed as the future President of France with elections set for 2027, the "Bardella effect" brings tangible benefits. It warms the image of the far-right, diverting attention from controversial slogans and solutions.

Le Pen hopes to erase the party's and her own pro-Putin connections or remove the banners calling for France to leave NATO. Borell has emphasized loudly that France will continue to support sending weapons to Ukraine but not deploying ground troops, as Macron suggested.

Quoted by CNBC, Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, assessed that Le Pen and Bardella are trying to reassure voters and markets that their policies will not be shock therapy.

They downplay Le Pen's earlier fiscal demands (reversing pension reform, large tax cuts for young and/or low-income citizens). Instead, Le Pen promises that an RN-led government will work with President Macron and maintain support for Ukraine, comments the chief economist of Berenberg Bank.

Le Pen’s lion cub

As CNBC writes, Bardella's charm does not wane even when the media uncovers inconsistencies in the constructed image of Jordan Bardella's "humble origins." Bardella's father was a successful businessman living in the affluent suburbs of Montmorency, where Jordan spent most of his childhood after his parents' divorce.

Bardella attended a private school and later studied geography at the Sorbonne, but he left his studies to study politics. At 16, he joined the National Assembly—then known as the National Front.

CNBC recalls that Le Pen noticed him because he was dating the daughter of her close friend and confidant, Frederic Chatillon. Within a few weeks of meeting Le Pen in 2017, he became the party’s spokesperson. Two years later, he became a Member of the European Parliament, and in 2022, he became the party’s chairman.

What are his chances of becoming Prime Minister? According to polls, RNs have 35% support. Last week, however, Bardella said he would accept the position only if RN obtained an absolute majority in the vote. CNBC notes that the far-right party is reluctant to lead a fragile minority government.

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