Marine Le Pen hands over command of her party to young MEP Jordan Bardella

The young MEP Jordan Bardella was elected today to succeed the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at the head of her party, National Grouping (RN, in French), and a new era is opening in this ultra-nationalist bloc, which for the first time will not be headed by a Le Pen.

The choice of Bardella – who as Le Pen’s right-hand man was the favorite – was voted on at the 18th RN congress, held today at the Maison de la Mutualité, a conference center in the fifth district of Paris.

Bardella swept the ballot and won the support of 85% of party members, compared to 15% garnered by his only opponent, Louis Aliot (Mayor of Perpignan)

The young politician, who at only 27 years old embodies the new generations of the old National Front (as the party was called until the refoundation promoted by Le Pen in 2018), even managed to surpass the numbers of his predecessor when she was elected in 2011 to succeed to his father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

The results were announced by Marine Le Pen herself, smiling on stage, shortly after the far-right leader – who will now concentrate on her work as head of the RN in the French National Assembly after the great results obtained in the June legislative elections (89 deputies) – offered a victorious farewell speech.

With an epic tone, Le Pen evoked the remarkable rise of his party under his command and promised to continue at the foot of the canyon.

"I am not leaving the presidency of our movement to go on vacation. I’m still mobilized. There will be no rest for me, as for any of us, until we have straightened out the country"said the ultranationalist leader.

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The change in leadership will not imply, in principle, major changes in the ideas defended by the RN, centered on the nationalist and ethnocentric concept of the "preference" either "priority" national.

Indeed, Le Pen is expected to continue to be the strong voice behind the scenes.

Bardella’s rise, aided by Marine Le Pen herself, has been meteoric since joining the party at the age of 16.

Born in the Parisian suburbs of the Saint-Denis department to an immigrant family of Italian origin, Le Pen appointed him head of the list for the European elections in 2019, when he was not yet 24 years old.

RN won those elections in France and Bardella became the second youngest MEP.

With a good presence and a talent for dealing with the media, Bardella is also the partner of one of Le Pen’s nieces.

This congress came at a time of strong controversy for the RN, after an alleged racist rebuke by one of its deputies (Grégoire de Fournas) led to the interruption of the National Assembly session on Thursday and caused a stir.

According to French political commentators, this incident – which cost De Fournas a 15-day suspension – has eroded the strategy of "dediabolization" and strengthening the institutional profile of the RN promoted by Le Pen to legitimize the image of the far-right movement.

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