The regional and departmental ballot barely passed, another important meeting awaits Marine Le Pen on the road to the presidential election. This Sunday, July 4, at 3 p.m., she will deliver in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales) the closing speech of the 17e Congress of the National Rally (RN). The party’s bodies must be renewed there and especially his candidacy for the presidency of the Republic will be formalized there. But by then, the exchanges will be animated within the formation which has just suffered a serious political setback.

After the municipal elections of 2020 where, despite the capture of Perpignan, the RN had lost ground and 44% of its advisers, Sunday’s failure is even more severe. At the national level, it only gathers 20.5% of the votes (according to Ifop Fiducial), against 27.1% in the previous edition in 2015.

Everywhere, the RN is in decline: Sébastien Chenu loses about 15 points in Hauts-de-France, Andréa Kotarac loses 10 in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes … In the departmental, he won no canton in the stronghold of the Pyrénées-Orientales where yet he hoped to win.

The party attributes the defeat to the poor organization of the regionals and the record abstention that affects more young people and the popular classes. On the evening of June 20, Marine Le Pen had shaken her constituents, urging them to “Deconfin”. The weak progression recorded by the RN between the two towers could translate a form of abstention from protest in which some of the French people who no longer even want to vote at the extremes would settle. If this hypothesis were confirmed, it would be very bad news for the RN.

For the time being, Marine Le Pen believes that no national lesson can be drawn from this local election marked, like that of municipal elections, by the context of the health crisis. Sunday, she was quick to open a new chapter. “The presidential election appears more than ever to be the election which makes it possible to change politics and policies”, she launched, giving ” Appointment “ to the French.

Whatever she says, the defeat of the RN still raises the question of the line of the RN and its leadership on the far right. Basically, Marine Le Pen has tried for several years to give credibility to its political offer, by erasing some asperities of its project and by practicing openness.

But neither the ex-LR candidates Thierry Mariani (Paca) and Jean-Paul Garraud (Occitanie), nor the ex-Debout La France Laurent Jacobelli (Grand Est) managed to get hold of the right-wing electorate, nor to break through among seniors and CSP +. This mixed record is causing controversy. RN Gilbert Collard MEP believes “That we do not have to smooth our ideas”. Conversely, the mayor of Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne) and former parliamentary assistant to Marion Maréchal, Romain Lopez, considers that the “Summary line” by Marine Le Pen is the correct one.

But the harshest criticisms come from outside the party. The day after the first round, the polemicist Éric Zemmour described on the CNews channel those in charge of the RN of “Annuitants who claim their dividends.” It is a discredit of the entire political class, but more of the RN, because it was its voters who abstained the most. » To reassure herself, the president of the RN can look at the polls which promise her a qualification in the second round in the presidential election. And on his score in the departmental: in the 2e Canton of Hénin-Beaumont, the pair that it forms with the mayor of the northern city, Steeve Briois, won nearly 60% of the vote.

Still, his personality continues to suffer from a credibility deficit, as opinion studies consistently show. Next Sunday, Marine Le Pen will have to find the words to convince within his own camp.

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