The French political right is fractured. Typically conservative voters are spread among the traditional right-wing party of Les Republicains, Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République En Marche!, and the more nationalist National Rally (Rassemblement National), among other smaller parties.
At The American Conservative, Scott McConnell explains how Marion Maréchal and her associates may be able to stitch together a coherent message for right wing French voters. He writes (abridged):
Last Saturday’s “Convention of the Right” in Paris, organized by associates of Marion Maréchal, would surely have received more attention had it not taken place days after the death of Jacques Chirac. Chirac was a somewhat right-of-center former president, prime minister, and “Gaullist” politician whose days in French politics are remembered warmly, because they were, most French would agree, better days for France.
Former deputy Marion Maréchal is the niece of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Marie Le Pen’s granddaughter. Her aunt has done an historic job in building her father’s party—formerly the National Front, now the Rassemblement National—into a viable right-wing populist force.
Clearly the conference showed that the idea that historic France is being overwhelmed by foreign cultures and peoples through the machinations and neglect of its governing elites is less a fringe conspiracy theory and more mainstream conservative discourse.
The goal of the Convention de la Droite was not only to change the Right, but to pave the way to elect a genuinely conservative president. Yet it’s not clear to me how that will happen soon. Granted, Emmanuel Macron was a virtual political unknown two and half years before his election, but he was an important economics minister in a socialist government, known for his pro-business views. Neither Marion Maréchal nor anyone on her roster has that stature, or the military background that might be its electoral equivalent.
Moreover, Macron has proven adept politically. He helped induce the Gilets Jaunes to discredit themselves through violence, while tacking rightward, at least rhetorically, on immigration.
Nonetheless, there remains a powerful political logic behind the Convention de la Droit. The split between the mainstream Right, which includes traditional Catholic voters and business-oriented types, and the more populist Rassemblement National—and the former’s willingness to join the with the Left to exclude the RN from potential governing coalitions (or, per Chirac, refuse to engage them in debate)—no longer makes sense to young people worried about France’s future
One feels that Marion Maréchal will one way or another achieve her goal of breaking down the barriers dividing the Right because it makes so much sense that it be done.
Read more here.