Better late than never. Four days before the end of the legislative campaign, Marine Le Pen reacts to the latest polls which give a narrow majority to Emmanuel Macron and warns, Tuesday, June 7, that he “could lose his absolute majority”. “We can make a very bad surprise to the President of the Republic,” she projects, calling on her voters to go and vote. Basically, she hardly believed in a wave of deputies from the National Rally (RN) breaking on the Hemicycle after the ballot on June 12 and 19.
At the beginning of May, she repeated that Emmanuel Macron would automatically obtain his victory, in the name of the logic of the institutions of the Fifth Republic, cutting short any mobilizing momentum herself. Worse, she barely caressed the goal of winning a group of 15 deputies, for 567 candidates presented… In sharp loss of speed behind the Nupes, the candidate with more than 50% of the presidential votes in 158 constituencies pulled herself together . She now claims to want to lead a group of 100 to 150 deputies. In private, his relatives confide that 20 to 35 elected would already be experienced as a success – in the latest projection of Ipsos-Sopra Steria for Le Monde, the RN could obtain 20 to 55 seats.
To the strength of the number could have been added that of the geographical distribution, while the deputy of Pas-de-Calais came first in 30 departments in the second round of the presidential election in April, against only Aisne and Pas-de-Calais in 2017. Hence this belated wish expressed to the press on May 26: “What I want (…) is that I can have deputies who come from all over France and not only deputies who, in their vast majority, came in this case from Pas-de-Calais and the North. »
In 2017, the National Front had obtained 8 deputies, including half from Pas-de-Calais (Marine Le Pen, Bruno Bilde, Ludovic Pajot, José Evrard) and one from the North (Sébastien Chenu). The other three, from the south of France, moved away during their mandate: Louis Aliot, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, resigned for the town hall of Perpignan; Gilbert Collard, in the Gard, who became an MEP, joined Eric Zemmour; Emmanuelle Ménard, in Hérault, represents herself without the support of the RN.
But Marine Le Pen’s compass has changed little: she has placed her executives in her areas of strength, the north and east of France, at the risk of consolidating a powerful northern RN, although cut off from half the country. “That would make a great title for Marine: Queen in the North,” smiles Jean-Philippe Tanguy, the presidential candidate’s former deputy campaign manager, referring to the epic Game of Thrones series, which features a kingdom of the independent North.
Most of the headliners have been sent to Hauts-de-France, where the RN management hopes to elect no less than “about fifteen deputies”, according to Gilles Pennelle. Marine Le Pen, candidate for re-election in the 11th constituency of Pas-de-Calais, “will be elected in the first round, that’s for sure! “Enthuses the head of the RN mobilization. Outgoing Bruno Bilde and Sébastien Chenu are on track to retain their seats. Caroline Parmentier, Marine Le Pen’s press secretary, was bombed in Béthune, in Pas-de-Calais, and Jean-Philippe Tanguy in Somme, in territories that voted RN in the second round of the presidential election more 50% of the votes.
Elsewhere either, the RN did not skimp on parachuting. Witness the Oise, rural and Lepenist department, where the best constituency goes to Philippe Ballard, former presenter of LCI and ex-deputy mayor in the Paris region. ” So what ? exclaimed Marine Le Pen on June 1. “Me, when I was a candidate in Pas-de-Calais, I was parachuted. But with the promise that I will stay there. It’s been twenty years. So. Philippe is investing in this constituency, and he will stay there, ”she assured Le Monde. On his right, the person concerned shuddered at the idea of still being there in twenty years, at 82 years old.
“We have to go vote”
The other region favorable to the RN extends in the Grand-Est. In Moselle, the party aligns Laurent Jacobelli, one of the party’s spokespersons, candidate in the Bouches-du-Rhône in 2017 and repatriated to the East for the regional elections, alongside Alexandre Loubet, the press officer of Jordan Bardella, who came from the Lot, or of Kévin Pfeffer, the young treasurer of the RN. Florence Goulet, in charge of Marine Le Pen’s travels during the presidential election, presents herself in the Meuse; Ludwig Knoepffler, international manager, in Bas-Rhin. The RN is betting as far as Seine-et-Marne, where François Paradol, Bardella’s chief of staff, presents himself.
In fact, Marine Le Pen is mainly campaigning in the North: half of her twelve legislative trips have taken place in Hauts-de-France, not counting her visits to her own constituency. After Haute-Marne and Meuse, it stopped in Aisne on May 30, then Pas-de-Calais and Oise on June 1, the North on June 3… and held its meeting of “national mobilization” on June 5, in his stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), when Jordan Bardella chaired another, the day before, in Cavaillon (Vaucluse).
Marine Le Pen seems to have mourned a real push to the south, outside the Var, where one of the spokespersons, Laure Lavalette, and MEP Julie Lechanteux are presenting themselves. However, she still has hope in the Vaucluse, with Hervé de Lépiau, and a slimmer one in Gironde, with Edwige Diaz. In the Southeast, competition from Eric Zemmour’s party risks depriving the RN of the three or four points needed to reach the second round. Philippe Vardon, elected municipal official in Nice and ex-RN candidate supported by Reconquête!, warned in April, in an interview with Le Figaro: “To refuse the union [with Eric Zemmour] is to sacrifice the RN of the South. “Marine Le Pen assumes the price. “Eric Zemmour tried to take the place of the RN, she pinged on Tuesday on Franceinfo. He failed. File closed, period. »
Gaining new territories is therefore far from certain. “It’s a little more difficult to be elected in the first round when there are nine candidates”, even estimated, at the end of May, Marine Le Pen, who is rightly worried about record abstention. “We are living in a paradox, she is alarmed, where the French who suffer the most terrible consequences of Emmanuel Macron’s policy are those who will vote the least. These are the young, the working classes and the middle classes. “We have to go vote. To vote is to defend yourself, ”she pressed on Wednesday on Europe 1.
To be in the second round, the RN will have to finish first or second on Sunday or collect the votes of 12.5% of those registered, or 25% of the votes, if one in two French people will vote. What rarefy the scenarios with three finalists, when the FN had benefited, in 2017 already, from a single triangular. “It’s not easy, concedes Gilles Pennelle. In addition to participation, there is the configuration of the second round: against whom, Nupes or LRM [La République en Marche]? If we find ourselves facing Nupes, it will be easier for us. Which, given the presidential results, could happen… in the south of France. “You have hopes on circos, and then you win elsewhere,” Pennelle household.
Anyway, the RN always risks hopping on one foot. “Its presence in the territories of social despair in the northeast quarter, in popular lands, workers and employees, is increasingly strong, underlines political scientist Pascal Perrineau. It is less clear in the south, where the petty bourgeoisie is rather favorable to Zemmour. In the former bastions of the left, José Evrard – who died in January – was the archetype: permanent member of the French Communist Party, where he spent thirty-six years, a minor grandfather, himself a postman, he had slipped to the FN, in 2017. In the Pas-de-Calais, the town of Noyelles-Godault, the historic stronghold of Maurice Thorez, gave 44.6% of the votes to Marine Le Pen in the first round, against 21% to Jean- Luc Melenchon.
The arrival of a northern RN group in the National Assembly will also weigh on the battles for internal influence, at a time when Jordan Bardella is preparing to take over the presidency of the RN. On the posters of deputy Bruno Bilde and mayor Steeve Briois, in Hénin-Beaumont, only the mention “With Marine” or the face of the candidate appears. Bardella’s name has been erased, unlike almost all posters conforming to the RN’s campaign kit in the rest of France.