Embarrassed around the corners. The questioning of the right to abortion by the Supreme Court of the United States, with its French repercussions, has some unexpected consequences: it highlights in particular the true nature of Marine Le Pen’s party.
The party which has just sent 89 deputies to the National Assembly intends to continue the process of “normalization”, but this questioning of abortion returns the National Rally to its reality, despite the efforts of Marine Le Pen and loved ones to give themselves an image of defenders of women. “We’re not going to meddle in other people’s business” reacted the neo-deputy and ex-journalist at LCI Philippe Ballard, trying to drown the fish.
As a fish, it is rather a whale: many elected officials of the RN are fierce anti-abortion activists, despite the denials of Marine Le Pen, for whom “the RN has never violated the right of women to have abortions”. In 2012, the same used the expression “comfort abortion” that she wanted to reimburse. Including at the beginning of the year, where she assumed not to reimburse “abortion, (which is) an act that can be avoided”.
Among the new deputies, a part defends ultra-reactionary positions on this subject. Starting with Caroline Parmentier, Marine Le Pen’s press officer, to whom the latter offered a tailor-made constituency in Pas-de-Calais. Editor for twenty-five years at the traditionalist Catholic newspaper Here, she wrote there in 2018 that “after having ‘genocided’ French children at the rate of 200,000 a year, we must now replace them with all our might by migrants”.
The elected Var Laure Lavalette had signed a platform in 2014 asking “repeal the right to abortion in the long term”. The extension of the abortion deadline from 12 to 14 weeks, in March, had given rise to despicable statements. Like that of the Vaucluse deputy Hervé de Lépiau, who compared him “to the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, to the Holocaust, to the crimes of Daesh”. The vote for the constitutionalization of abortion risks giving rise to some contortions on the far right of the Hemicycle.
Former activists, “Dad’s FN” trend
However, Macronie continues its business of dismissing the RN and part of the left, in particular rebellious France, back to back. “The FI and the RN are on the same level”, again struck the deputy Gilles Le Gendre, still part of LaREM, thus contributing to normalize new deputies with yet worrying profiles. Several are former militants, with a “dad’s FN” tendency, such as Frédéric Boccaletti, a close friend of Le Pen senior. He had opened in Toulon in 1997 a bookstore with anti-Semitic and negationist works, named Anthinéa, in homage to the title of a book by Charles Maurras. He had been convicted in 2000 of violence in a meeting with a weapon during a racist altercation during a collage of posters. He regularly attacks migrants, “animated by an exacerbated selfishness coupled with a shameful cowardice”, he wrote in 2016.
Judicial register always, but more recent: on June 22, a complaint was filed by the journalist Djaffer Ait Aoudia against Lionel Ferlaud, a lawyer close to the RN deputy of Draguignan (Var) Philippe Schreck. The lawyer reportedly threatened the journalist with sending “(his) Corsican friends to (him) settle (his) account”because of a caustic portrait of Mr. Schreck, described as “longtime friend”.
Twenty of the new far-right elected officials are unknown, including for the management team around the head of the RN, who fears excesses and ensures that they are supervised by choosing their parliamentary collaborators. But many are first of all seasoned militants, from all the chapels of the extreme right. Among them the young guard of Marine Le Pen: Jean-Philippe Tanguy (Somme, RN candidate for the presidency of the Finance Committee), Thomas Ménagé (Loiret) and Alexandre Loubet (Moselle), former executives of Debout la France, the movement of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.
And there are the relatives of Marion Maréchal, Christophe Bentz (Haute-Marne) and Pierre Meurin (Gard): the three co-founded Issep, the Lyon training school for far-right executives. These two elected officials also went through the movement of Philippe de Villiers, and Pierre Meurin joined Éric Zemmour’s campaign for a time.
And then, beyond the sulphurous profiles, there are the texts that the RN wants to bring to the Palais-Bourbon. To start with “the first we will present”according to Marine Le Pen: the proposed law “aimed at combating Islamist ideologies”. Submitted to the office of the Assembly in February 2021, this text provides for the prohibition of “Islamist outfits” in the public space, which would make France a world exception, since burkini, veil or djellaba are indiscriminately targeted.
A totally unconstitutional law, just like the second priority that the RN wants to carry in the Hemicycle: “national priority” – like Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1986 – and the “fight against immigration”. On this last point, it is not impossible that the RN will find some convergence, as is the case on the tax level, with the majority.