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France

France's far-right party to reveal candidates in upcoming European elections

media Marine Le Pen, head of the Rassemblement National party REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The partial unveiling of candidates from France’s far-right party the National Rally (formerly the Front National), ahead of May’s European Parliamentarian elections will be made 13 January, here in Paris during its annual ‘Grande Convention’.

The party, led by Marine Le Pen, changed its name from the National Front last in year in June, as Marine sought to distignuish herself from the party founded and initially led by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

But this year’s elections are shaping up to be a more interesting affair. “For the first time, the European election is really at stake” says Thierry Mariani, the former minister of transporation under President Nicolas Sarkozy in an interview with Le Parisien.

On January 8th, Mariani left his longtime left-wing Les Republicains party (The Republicans) after 43 years of membership.”

Up until now the PSE [Party of European Socialists] and the PPE [European People’s Party group] shared power, but this time, with Matteo Salvini [President of Italy] and Viktor Orban [President of Hungary], an alternative will be available.”

European Parliament elections

As far-right parties within the European Union gain more traction, such as in Italy and in Hungary, these European elections are set to be a deciding factor in what kind of an EU emerges.

Every five years, EU citizens vote on who will represent them at the European Parliament.

The number of MEPs (Members of European Parliament) varies from country to country depending on its population. Germany, for example, has 96 MEPs whereas Malta has only six.

In the case of France, with the ongoing Yellow Vests protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist party République En Marche, along with the hard hit Les Republicans took with Macron’s election, the RN has been ahead in polling for the European elections at 24 percent; that’s five percentage points ahead of Macron’s party, says the Politico.

RN seeking a younger image

Meanwhile, 23 year-old Jordan Bardella was appointed as the RN’s spokesperson to lead the party’s campaign for this year’s election.

The party’s vice-president, Louis Aliot was quoted as saying Bardella was chosen because in troubled times as of today, such a well-established party needs to show it will “give the chance to young people coming from working-class backgrounds.”

So far, the following 10 people are expected to officially be named as candidates representing the RN in European elections.

These include:

  • Jordan Bardella, current spokesperson of the RN
  • Hélène Laporte, RN member, a candidate during the 2017 legislative elections for Lot-et-Garonne
  • Thierry Mariani, former transport minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Jean-Paul Garraud, former member of the National Assembly in France
  • Hervé Juvin, author of political books and essays
  • Nicolas Bay, co-president of the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group, MEP, RN member
  • Dominique Bilde, RN member, MEP for the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group
  • Joëlle Mélin, RN member, MEP for the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group
  • Mylène Troszczynski, RN member, and MEP for the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group
  • Marine Le Pen, head of the RN party
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