France: new leader for the Rassemblement National

The 27-year-old MEP Jordan Bardella has replaced Marine Le Pen as leader of the Rassemblement National (RN). It is the first time in the 50-year history of the right-wing populist party that it will not be led by a member of the Le Pen family. Commentators believe the change of leader is only on paper, however.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Le Pen still firmly in the saddle

There can be no talk of a new generation taking charge, Der Standard is convinced:

“Jordan Bardella (27) is the new party leader. But Marine Le Pen, the daughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen - whom she single-handedly expelled from the party - continues to make all relevant decisions alone. Namely on the question of whether she will run for president again in 2027. Everything indicates that she wants to. After this year's respectable victory of 41.5 percent against Emmanuel Macron, she has further tailwind. The telegenic, mouthy Bardella, who has mastered Le Pen's soft rhetoric just as perfectly, is now an important second for her.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

A tactical retreat

Le Pen's resignation as party president is a tactical move, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes:

“Very often in France it is not the party leaders who run for president. To a certain extent the head of state is expected to stand above the parties. Le Pen's decision to resign as head of the RN seems logical. Her chances of actually being elected are better than ever. Le Pen is one of the most popular politicians in France. The French may not be fully convinced by her programme, but they want a change. Although it looks like she's stepping back, in all likelihood Marine Le Pen is getting ready to take a new stab at becoming president.”