France’s far-right chief on fire for her mainstream turn

Paris (AP) — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen faces severe criticism that it has over-mainstreamed the party, blunted the extremist edge and ignored grassroots members. Race.

After a failure in the National Union’s local elections a week ago, the turmoil has grown even bigger, just before the party convention this weekend.

Le Pen is the unquestionable boss of the opposition to immigrants, and her fate is not expected to change at a two-day event in the southwestern town of Perpignan hosted by the local mayor of Louis Aliot. The party’s top performer in last year’s local elections. However, unpleasant calculations can be made, as Le Pen is trying to inject new dynamism into the National Rally.

Critics say Le Pen erased her party’s dissident signature by trying to make it more plausible for mainstream rights. As part of her strategy, she softened her ties and removed the racist and anti-Semitic stigma that clung to the party decades later under her now exiled father Jean-Marie Le Pen. I made an effort. She co-founded the party in 1972 and was called under her father, who led it for 40 years, so she changed her name from the National Front.

“Even with ordinary rights, the policy of adapting to reconciliation with power has been severely sanctioned,” said Jean-Marie Le Pen. “(It) is a political mistake, leading to election failures, and perhaps election failures,” he added, referring to regional election results and the 2022 presidential vote.

The now 93-year-old rebellious patriarch has been banished to raise the party’s respect, but his criticism reflects the criticism of moderate members rather than his daughter confusing the message.

Her goal is to reach the final vote in the presidential election within 10 months and to be more successful than in 2017, when she reached the final round but lost to centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Only one in three voters who cast ballots during the elections last Sunday, including a few who were originally welcomed by mainstream rights, featured a record high abstention. Failed in all 12 regions of France. Polls have suggested that a party that has never led the region will win at least one. Instead, they lost nearly one-third of local councilors in a vote that was considered important for planting the local roots needed for the presidential election. This is said to be ignored by some.

“It’s a local election to launch a rocket,” said Mayor Romaine Lopez of the small southwestern town of Moissac, who could take Marine Le Pen to the presidential residence. It can … demobilize voters in the national rally for the presidential election. “

Since the defeat of the local elections, some local representatives have resigned with disgust. Among them is Bruno Lelognon, a representative of the southern region of Ellow.

In a bitter letter to Le Pen posted on Facebook, Lelognon blasted his boss’s strategy to seduce voters from other parties as “absurd.” He said members of the party’s local federation were “disgusted” — removed from running in local elections in favor of outsiders. Eko patronage “corrupted” the local far-right scene, he wrote, implying long-standing criticism of the power clans within the National Rally, whose voice is decisive. Le Pen replaced him a day later.

In western France, all four members of a small local federation resigned between rounds of local elections. None of the four were on the local electoral list — as they claimed, they were “pushed out” by senior officials elsewhere. They lamented the “defeat strategy” that was born at the 2018 Lille Party Convention, where Le Pen first proposed to change the name of the party and cut off the rest of his relationship with his father.

European Parliament member Gilbert Corrado, a nationally reputed party member, has criticized the strategy of opening up as a “trap.” He said he would not attend the meeting.

Mayor Moissac Lopez is there and wants to hear from him and other dissatisfied people.

31-year-old Lopez, a supporter of Le Pen’s efforts to reach other political parties, is angry with the former leftist town and has granted voters his own widespread appeal in last year’s elections.

But the party hierarchy, though an important local base, is separated from its rarity, Lopez said. Lopez said state officials treat local representatives like children and “impose everything, how to communicate, how to build local campaigns.” “And by imposing everything from above, you have a national strategy … separated from the reality of each town or region.”

He isn’t sure if the party will give local officials like himself more time to talk than his five minutes at the roundtable, but he hopes to be asked.

“When you are complacent, when you refuse to see the flaws, you go straight to the wall,” he said.

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