Jordan Bardella, 27, new President of French far-right National Rally
The French far-right National Rally (RN) elects 27-year-old Jordan Bardella as head of the party and successor to Marine Le Pen.
27-year-old Jordan Bardella was elected to succeed Marine Le Pen as the new head of France’s far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN), in a first-of-its-kind occurrence since 1972 where the party will not be run by someone from the Le Pen family, the founders of the party.
Bardella, who has been caretaker chief of the party for a year since Le Pen stepped down in 2021 following the election loss against French President Emmanual Macron, was able to overwhelmingly beat his rival Louis Aliot, former partner of Marine Le Pen, by around 70% votes as Bardella garnered 85% voting support compared to Aliot who only managed to acquire 15%.
Read more: EU Reforms Led by Right Extremist Party
This comes just days after the French National Assembly sanctioned one of the party's MPs, Gregoire de Fournas, with a 15-day suspension in addition to a pay cut following a racist comment he made towards a black college when he yelled at him to go "back to Africa".
Marine Le Pen has spent years fighting to make the far-right party she inherited from her father electable and went toe-to-toe in the previous presidential elections against Macron, and despite the loss, she was able to add 89 MPs to her party.
“I am not leaving RN to take a holiday. I will be there where the country needs me,” Le Pen stated during a party convention on Saturday.
Read more: EU anti-fraud body accuses Le Pen of embezzlement
It is expected that Le Pen is preparing to run for the 2027 elections.
Bardella, who was filling in for Le Pen during her electoral campaign against Macron last year, was placed under investigation last February for calling the French town Trappes, whose most of its residents are immigrants, an "Islamic Republic".
The newly elected President of the RN described the winning of Italian far-right PM Giorgia Meloni as a “lesson in humility for the European Union."
Read more: US failed to repeat Libya, Syria scenario in Iran: Raisi
"No threat of any kind can stop democracy. The people of Europe are lifting their heads and taking their destiny in hand,” Bardella said after he accused the Union of trying to interfere in Italy's elections
The 27-year-old joined the far-right party at the age of 16, where he rose quickly to its high ranks and took his first public position within the party in 2017 after becoming its spokesperson.
Bardella's partner is Nolwenn Olivier, Marine Le Pen's niece, which enabled him to establish a personal and special relationship with the Le Pen household.
Read more: More Republicans stand against continued support to Ukraine: WSJ poll
Marine Le Pen claims to have overhauled the former National Front (now RN) into a mainstream force. However, critics argue that despite the changes being only cosmetic and while the party remains inherently racist, Le Pen's attempts were successful.
Le Pen was able to garner 17.9% votes in the 2012 presidential elections, followed by 23.1% in 2017 and 23.15% in 2022.
It's noteworthy that Le Pen has declared neutrality when it came to announcing support for either of the candidates that ran for the party's presidency.
“I said I’d remain neutral,” the former head of RN stated in an interview, adding on another that, “There’s no difference in [political] line between Jordan Bardella and Louis Aliot.”
Read more: Pentagon unveils new US command in Germany, more Ukraine aid