Rearranging the Deck Chairs
This article on Marine Le Pen at Valeurs Actuelles describes her determination to ascend to the leadership of the Front National. Some of the names mentioned may be unknown to my readers, but they are for the most part leaders and aspiring leaders within the party:
You have only to visit the website of the Front National to realize a few things. On the home page it reads: "Turkey - Sarkozy lied. With Marine Le Pen, sign the national petition against the entry of Turkey in Europe." Why her and not someone else? One close to her answers: "Somebody had to do it. Marine did it. The others had only to get the lead out!"
One month away from the convention in Bordeaux (November 17 and 18), where Jean-Marie Le Pen is expected to be reelected to one last three-year "transition" period as head of his party, the vice-president of the FN is taking up more and more room. Her objective: to impose herself at the convention as the natural heir of the old chief, and then to be the FN candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
Unwilling to sell the "Paquebot" ("ocean liner" - the nickname given to the FN headquarters in Paris), in order to pay off party debts (8 million euros) incurred as a result of losing the legislative elections, Marine Le Pen no longer rules it out.
"We're trying to obtain a five-year bank loan. (...) If we don't succeed, we'll sell the Paquebot. If we get the loan and in 2012 our results in the legislative elections are good, we'll pay it back and keep the Paquebot. If they're bad, we'll have no choice but to sell the Paquebot," that she estimates to be worth at least 20 million euros.
Without saying so publicly, the youngest Le Pen and her close associates - who are fortunately more talkative - are favorable to the elimination of the two-pronged leadership of the party (general secretary and general delegation) as a way of saving money and of strengthening her hold on the party. "The general delegation had been tailor-made for Bruno Mégret, in 1988, to counteract the rise to power of Jean-Pierre Stirbois, then secretary general. After the Mégret crisis in 1998 (when he broke with the party) this system was maintained. Two parallel structures, sometimes in competition, had its advantages. "That is no longer true today," confides a loyal associate. It is said to be Le Pen's opinion as well.
This is in contradiction to what others have said about the dictatorial nature of the FN leadership under Jean-Marie Le Pen. He was accused by dissidents of running a one-man show. The point of view expressed here, however, is that power was spread around too much and should be concentrated in one person, i.e., Marine.
My best guess in explaining this apparent contradiction is that Le Pen took total control no matter how many other leadership positions there were. And that Marine is making it more streamlined by officially eliminating some positions.
To compensate for the elimination of his position as "general delegation", Bruno Gollnisch might be offered an honorary consolation prize: command of the international branches of the FN, since Marine would be both party president and presidential candidate. Gollnisch has been recovering from heart bypass surgery, and it is said that he voluntarily withdrew from the contest for party leader.
Carl Lang, however, has announced that he will run against Marine when her father steps down, in three years. Without any real hope of winning, but just to make his weight felt. (...)
The fact is that internally, the anti-Marine coalition is starting to break down. Yes, Jean-François Touzé, advocate of a return to "fundamentals", doubts the capacity of the FN under Marine to win back the voters who went with Sarkozy. And Michel Hubault, like some others, privately worries about the "new Front National that could be born under Marine's direction. Will I feel at home in this party? I don't know."
But one of the leaders of the traditional Christians in the FN, Jean Madiran, founder of the journal Présent, has joined Marine Le Pen's camp. "The most likely outcome is that Jean-Marie Le Pen will put Marine in his own place as successor. It is also the most reasonable thing to do," he asserts. Other veterans of the FN feel the same way: Alain Jamet and Roger Holeindre, both co-founders of the FN. More than supporters, they are guarantees.
After all the hoopla about Marine's outlandish conduct, her friendships with rockers, rappers, Marxists, the disgust so many at the FN felt at the idea of her wheedling her father to give her more power, after the determined cries of "Break with Le Pen!", "Not one vote for Le Pen," in the end, they are turning to Marine Le Pen, because they have no one else. Gollnisch is sick, Carl Lang lacks charisma, and so many members have been lost along the way, either to Sarkozy or to the oblivion of a non-political life..
Photo of Marine from Wikipedia.