In 2015, the National Front announced that it was “Capable, on its own, of constituting a complete territorial network” by presenting candidates for departmental elections in more than 1,900 cantons. Six years later, the far-right party – which has meanwhile become National Rally, RN – persists, and claims 3,276 titular candidates for the departmental elections, which take place at the same time as the regional elections, on June 20 and 27. .
The National Gathering is, once again, the movement which will present the most candidates under its label… https://t.co/AWd3EhKvgw
A satisfecit in the form of a campaign argument, inferring that they would have a broader militant base than the other parties. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, which provides the political nuances of pairs of candidates for departmental, it is actually 3,254 candidates, or 1,627 pairs, who carry the banner of the RN. A figure far ahead of all the other political labels: the various right and various left pairs, respectively second and third contingent per label, each display 871 and 748 pairs.
However, some clues reveal weaknesses. Thus, if the RN has so many pairs under its single label, it is because it is the only major French party to have failed to form alliances beyond its own party. The other major political formations are present, according to local configurations, in the form of pairs of ” union on the left with environmentalists “, Of” union in the center and on the right “, Of” union on the right “, Etc. So many possibilities to federate beyond their party, especially for the second round of elections.
An inexperienced base of activists
The simultaneous organization of departmental and regional elections shows the limits of the Lepéniste party to draw on a large base of members and sympathizers experienced in political exercise. According to the accounts of World, among all the candidates for the departmental elections, 1,830 are also in the race for the region, all parties combined, but among them, 65% are running under the banner of the RN. The practice is legal, since the law allows the accumulation of these two electoral mandates.
In the same vein, if we look at the candidates in the regional elections, the RN struggles to find a sufficiently broad base to present different candidates. On average, 63% of the RN candidates in the regional elections, including three heads of the list, are also in the running for a departmental election. In the Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Brittany, Center-Val de Loire and Normandy regions, more than four out of five candidates stand for both elections. Where the party is better established, as in Hauts-de-France and in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the figures are lower: 49% and 55% double candidacy, respectively.
“Difficult to transform members into candidates”
Gilles Pennelle, who is both responsible for RN federations, head of the regional list in Brittany and candidate in a canton of Ille-et-Vilaine, is not moved by the situation. “I am a regional advisor, it is my only mandate. But I am quite well known in my canton. If I am elected [aux départementales], the system allows us to have two mandates. “
Already, in 2015, Sylvain Crépon, lecturer-researcher in political science at the University of Tours, and Nicolas Lebourg, historian at the University of Montpellier, RN specialists, noted in the book The pretenses of the National Front that the party had “Hard to transform members into activists and especially into candidates”. Six years later, things have changed little: “ For lack of structural reserve, they fail to present people who have the inherent resources of a political staff able to manage an administration », Estimates Sylvain Crépon.
Gilles Pennelle nods half a word. “We have few local mandates” to the party, he admits, moderating immediately: “These elections are an opportunity to bring out new frameworks. (…) In the group, not all will be elected, but it allows us to advance our ideas and also to identify, motivate and stimulate talents ” tomorrow for the RN.