France’s far-right RN party has elected Bardella as its new president

France’s far-right RN party has elected Bardella as its new president

PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) – France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) elected Jordan Bardella as its new president on Saturday, overwhelmingly backing the 27-year-old member of the European Parliament to succeed Marine Le Pen in the post.

Bardella, a party loyalist who has been interim president for a year, won nearly 85 percent of the party’s vote, compared to 15 percent for his opponent Louis Aliot, who is a former partner of Le Pen.

This is the first time that the party will be led by someone who is not a member of the Le Pen family.

Le Pen, who has watered down some of the party’s anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic policies, withdrew from the RN’s leadership structure in 2021 ahead of her unsuccessful bid for the presidency in this year’s election, which was won by incumbent Emmanuel Macron.

“I’m not leaving RN to take a vacation. We’re going where the country needs me,” Le Pen said at Saturday’s party convention. He is expected to run for president once again in 2027.

Bardella, who hails from a tough working-class neighborhood, said she would continue her efforts to attract voters outside the party’s far-right core.

Bardella he told Reuters last week that the fact that someone outside the Le Pen family could preside over the RN represents a “small cultural revolution”.

The former National Front party was founded in 1972 by Marina’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Bardela became one of Le Pen’s most recognized lieutenants in the French media. His quick wit and brutal sound bites made him a formidable opponent for Macron’s ministers and lawmakers on TV shows.

A boxing enthusiast raised in a social housing block on the outskirts of Paris, Bardella quickly rose through the party ranks. In 2019, he led her campaign for the European elections, when he came first just ahead of Macron’s centrist party.

Bardella takes over after the French parliament on Friday cut the far-right lawmaker’s salary temporarily denied him access to the chamber because of the cry “Go back to Africa!” as the black lawmaker spoke during the parliamentary session.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Toby Chopra and Helen Popper

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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