Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tuer le père?

A former Frontist sees a clash between father and daughter as the former is eclipsed and the latter rises by differentiating herself from his politics. An analysis to be read with a skeptical eye, but this passage is of particular interest:

Si on regarde dans le passé du Front national, on s’aperçoit que du temps de Le Pen, quand il y avait des exclusions, elles frappaient plutôt des gens qui venaient du RPR et de l’UDF. En revanche depuis que Marine Le Pen est là, elle tape à son extrême droite, ce que Le Pen ne faisait pas. Il considérait que ces forces-là devaient être ménagées en cas de coup dur. Ils n’ont donc pas la même approche. Elle est dans une sorte d’approche à l’italienne, bien que je ne crois pas du tout qu’elle soit comparable à Gianfranco fini, qui a réussi l’alliance à droite en Italie. Tout cela s’inscrit dans un mouvement européen où les thèmes populistes ont un succès croissant dans de nombreux pays d’Europe.
Jean-Marie Le Pen a toujours pensé qu’il ne fallait pas quitter les fondamentaux d’une droite très radicale, Il renvoyait régulièrement des signaux sur ce terrain-là, de manière à durer. Il semble que l’ambition de Marine Le Pen d’arriver au pouvoir, ce qui était un objectif abandonné depuis longtemps par Jean-Marie, ne recueille pas du tout l’approbation de ce dernier. Il pense tout simplement qu’elle va échouer et qu’elle prend des risques qui à terme peuvent menacer le FN.
The commentator,  Lorrain de Saint-Affrique, also observes that in the election for the FN leadership, Marine Le Pen received 11,000 votes against 5,000 abstentions and 5,000 votes for Bruno Gollnisch, who stood for keeping faith with the traditional extremist orientation of the party.


FrédéricLN said...

Lorrain de Saint-Affrique is a valuable observer. He's the one who pointed out how tactical was the move of Jean-Marie Le Pen against arab immigrants in the late 70's - the FN was basically rather pro-Arab, as it was anti-Sionist, if not anti-Semite (quite clear for J.-M. Le Pen himself). All his founders, but the youngest one (Le Pen himself), were active "pétainistes" during WWII.

The comparison with Gianfranco Fini is nevertheless that relevant. Fini looks like a center-right, open-minded person with a rightist electoral basis (something like a David Cameron?), and actually ended up by breaking the link with this basis to create his own center party.

The comparison would rather be with MSI's former leader Giorgio Almirante, who tried hard to transform MSI into a decent right-wing party. But during all these years, the main center-right party in Italy (Christian Democracy) preferred so called "center-left" alliances with small parties.

That's where J.-M. Le Pen can actually fear the failure of his daughter's strategy: can a "cleaner" FN really attract more than marginal components of UMP? Can this alliance, if any, get a majority of votes? As you once wrote, this looks like the strategic situation of the Tea Party movement.

FrédéricLN said...

oops - "The comparison with Gianfranco Fini is nevertheless NOT that relevant."

randcoop said...

I think the analysis is excellent, once again identifying the blurring of populist appeal that the right wing has managed.

And I think the comparison to Fini is apt. Fini has pulled off the incredible transition in the public eye from fascist to center-right politician. Today in Italy, the Northern League's Bossi is considered to be to the right of Fini, who only a couple of years ago was the head of the fascist party (the party of Mussolini).

It's true that Fini, as opposed to Le Pen, has created a new party, thus more concretely putting a distance between himself and his past. But his rhetorical change is quite similar to Le Pen's.

FrédéricLN said...

@ randcoop : ok, it may be. But Marine Le Pen is and remains a "far right" person (+- like Sarah Palin?) and basically a nationalist, what Gianfranco Fini was as a young man, but clearly isn't any more. Fini's move was, imho, more ideological than tactical.