On June 17, the mayor of Orange, Jacques Bompard was elected deputy from the 4th district of le Vaucluse with 58.77% of the votes - the highest score of the region. A former member of the Front National, Bompard ran on the Ligue du Sud ticket - the party he founded in 2010. Bompard left the FN in 2005 having been one of the party's founders in 1972, and having served the party for thirty-three years. He joined Philippe de Villiers' MPF in 2006, but left in 2009 when Villiers moved his party under the wing of Sarkozy's UMP. Bompard did not care to be subservient to Nicolas Sarkozy and branched out on his own, as did many others who had experienced difficulties with the Front National leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen.
His entry into the National Assembly was in fact a comeback, for he had been one of the thirty-five Front National deputies elected to the Assembly in 1986 when a proportional electoral system was in effect.
Jacques Bompard advocates a union of the the various right-wing parties into a powerful and efficient opposition to Socialist dominance. This is what has been sorely lacking in France for so long. The "fractured right" as I use to call it seemed incapable of putting aside differences for the good of the country. But now, there is a glimmer of hope, as the gentleman from Orange looks ahead to better days. This is an abridged version of an interview with the journal Minute, posted at Novopress:
- How do you feel on the eve of your return to the National Assembly?
- I feel an immense satisfaction, especially since I had the strongest showing in the department of le Vaucluse. Another reason for my satisfaction is that I was elected without the support of a large national party. That shows that I have the massive support of the population, which is the most important thing for me. And my only duty will be to my voters, which is not always the case when large parties support you (…)
- How do you explain the fact that there was no favorable gesture towards you from the FN, even though you did not place a candidate of the Ligue du Sud in opposition to Marion Maréchal Le Pen?
Note: Marion was elected deputy from the 3rd district of le Vaucluse which includes part of the city of Carpentras. Bompard chose not to place one of his own people - Hervé de Lépineau, to run in the same race, thus making it much easier for her to win.
- Marion was in favor of an agreement and clearly said so. But Jean-Marie Le Pen refused, because of a quarrel that went back to 2005 and which, for my part, I have long since brushed aside. This is why I agreed that the vice-president of the Ligue du Sud, Hervé de Lépineau, could be Marion's substitute. There was no reciprocity, and it's too bad, but all's well that ends well! (…)
- Could le Vaucluse become a laboratory for a union of right-wing parties?
- We have been able to build a model that can be of use on a national level because, only a union of the Right can succeed in defeating a union of the Left! It cannot be done without sacrifice. Thus, in the first round, under the aegis of the Union of the Right and the Center, we presented just one candidate from the Ligue du Sud… But at least, that led to a victory!
Note: Bompard, along with four other candidates of different political views signed a "Charter of the Union of the Right and the Center", a group united only on certain broad issues (see photo above, with Bompard in the light gray suit). The five represented the five voting districts of le Vaucluse. This symbolic "Charter" was for the purpose of the legislative election and it did lead to Bompard's victory, but I must admit I cannot see what advantage it had, since the five signatories are so disparate. Bompard implies it should set an example, however rudimentary, of compromising for the greater good of the country, something the Right has yet to learn. And it was in retaliation against Jean-Marie Le Pen's refusal to allow collaboration with Bompard. And this too is a mystery - does Jean-Marie Le Pen still wield power within the FN? Did Marine cave into her father, or did she agree with her father on snubbing Bompard? (I suspect the former.)
- It could be a lesson for the future…
- Absolutely, since the Ligue du Sud does not operate at all according to the vertical schemas of the large national parties, including the FN. We work in more "horizontal" networks, we are more flexible and friendlier. We accept multi-partisanship, and attachments with outside structures… Where the others place authoritarianism, we try to place the greatest possible intelligence.
Rigidity of structures leads to failure. It's what explains - in part - why the UMP and the Front National have never managed to establish a solid partnership, even as the Front Républicain cracked seriously during the elections. A bit more flexibility from both of them might have shattered it forever.
Note: The "Front Républicain" refers to the coalition of the UMP with the Socialists for the purpose of preventing the FN from winning. Bompard feels that this coalition could have been dealt a death blow if the UMP and the FN had been more flexible, i.e., the UMP should not have refused to compromise with the FN and vice versa.
- Do you envisage working with Marion Maréchal-Le Pen in the National Assembly?
- Of course! She looks to the future and seeks measures that are effective.
- And will you even work with the UMP?
- Of course! I am completely free, I can work with anybody of good will. I cannot see myself with a leftist group since we have nothing in common, but there are members of the UMP who share our values - for example Lionnel Luca or Philippe Meunier. (…) What is certain is that it is good to belong to a group if you want your ideas to count in a debate. Therefore, I am for joining a group that would leave me free to think and to vote. If there is such a thing, fine. If not, we'll do what we can with what we've got!
- What will your first actions be?
- I have two ideas regarding the defense of our freedoms. Considering that the first freedom is security, and the second, liberating freedom, is work, I would implement a right to work, along with a minimum revenue for social integration.
Note: France already has enough measures such as these. I don't understand his reasoning unless he is speaking only of ethnic Frenchmen, and I don't think he is. A "right to work" would be one more gift to immigrants. Maybe compulsory work, supervised by an armed police force would be better!
You must integrate ("insérer") people into the social mainstream, instead of excluding them through welfare. Our neediest citizens must recover their dignity and participate in the life of society.
Note: !!!!!!!! I hope he doesn't really mean this. I remember back in 2007, Claude Reichman talked like this: Economics is everything. Give them a job and they'll become like everybody else. Not necessarily.
Regarding crime ("sécurité"), I favor a recasting of the plethora of French laws, the meaning of which even escapes legal experts. We must recast the penal code in a simplified and clear manner so that nobody can claim not to know what the law really is. With this re-definition it will be possible to punish those who violate it. I'm going to try to join the committee on laws, and since there are intelligent people in all political groups, it will be possible to push forward bills that provide for the common good.
Now you know (in anticipation of your next question) how a free electron can be effective in the National Assembly!
Note: Simplifying laws is perhaps a good idea, but the problem it seems to me is not the laws, but the fact that nobody obeys them when it comes to "ethnic" crime. What makes him think new laws will be obeyed more than the old ones? The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" should be enough. We could add "Thou shalt not destroy the country that feeds you, houses you, medicates you, and educates you."
I have said many times that the 1905 law separating Church and State needs to be re-written in order to exclude from French soil all alien religions and ideologies that are by nature totalitarian. This would exclude Islam, first and foremost. I wonder if Jacques Bompard would agree. I do hope he will try to have the Gayssot law on hate speech and holocaust denial repealed.
My feelings gradually changed as I worked on this post. At first favorable, I later began asking myself some questions. How traditionalist is he really? But in the end, as so often in the past, we have to say: "It's too soon to tell, we have to give him a chance"? His central goal of a union is sound, provided the underlying principles of the union are sound. And he seems to have remained a gentleman with regard to Jean-Marie Le Pen about whom one cannot say the same.
For more articles on the "charter" mentioned above, French readers can consult Novopress and Le Dauphiné
Browsing in the archives of Le Salon Beige, I found this from September 10, 2005:
After his exclusion on Friday from the Political Bureau of the FN, Jacques Bompard has just declared that he considered himself "as being definitively excluded from the FN" and that so long as Jean-Marie Le Pen is president it is out of the question for him to return to the Front National.
Browsing further through the archives, I find his problems with Le Pen were often an impediment, but the fault seems to lie with the man LSB readers call the "Menhir", while both Bompard and Marion Maréchal-Le Pen are highly regarded.
Labels: Assemblée Nationale, Election 2012, Front National, Jacques Bompard, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marion Maréchal Le Pen, Resistance