With TikTok at the premiere. Macron's new competitor

18.06.2024/11/00 XNUMX:XNUMX    12

In France, the main winner of the elections to the European Parliament was the leader of the extreme right Jordan Bardella - a 28-year-old youth idol with the appearance of a movie star.

In France, the National Unity party inflicted a crushing defeat on Emmanuel Macron's party in the European Parliament elections, forcing the president to dissolve parliament and call early elections. As early as July, Jordan Bardella, the new leader of the far-right, may become prime minister.

Wants to appear poor

Jordan Bardella was born on September 13, 1995 in Saint-Denis, a poor suburb of Paris, populated mainly by immigrants of Arab and African origin. His mother Louise emigrated to France from Italy in the 1960s. His father Olivier also has partly immigrant (Algerian) roots.

Bardella grew up in social housing - in the gloomy municipal high-rise buildings that make up Saint-Denis. His parents divorced when Jordan was two years old. He was raised by his mother, who worked as an assistant in a kindergarten and lived paycheck to paycheck.

However, his childhood was not full of wanderings, as he and his PR people try to imagine.

After his divorce, his father moved from Saint-Denis to a more affluent area and became a successful vending machine salesman. He picked up his son twice a week, took him on holidays abroad and paid for his education at the private Catholic Lycée Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle.

Bardella is reluctant to mention school, probably because studying at a prestigious lyceum doesn't fit too well with his image of coming from rough neighborhoods. But we should not forget about this side of his life, considering the role that a private school could play in the formation of his social circle, worldview and, which is so important for a politician, oratorical skills.

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Bardella graduated with honors from the lyceum and entered the Sorbonne to study geography, where, however, he did not stay long - in the third year he dropped out, deciding to devote himself fully to the activities of the National Front.

Rebranding of the far right

Traditionally, the National Front was perceived in France as an anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, racist and democratic party.

Bardella, charismatic, smartly dressed and neatly combed (he has been compared to Ken, the boyfriend of the Barbie doll), with a soft voice and impeccable manners, proved to be the perfect embodiment of the party's new image and an absolute hit with the young audience. That is, exactly the person that Marine Le Pen needed to convey her main message to the people: we are not racists, but a "normal opposition party" that protects the interests of ordinary French people.

At the age of 19, Jordan Bardella became the secretary of the National Front branch in Saint-Denis, in 2015 he was elected to the regional council of Ile-de-France. And in the 2017 presidential elections, 22-year-old Bardella already joined the campaign team of Marine Le Pen.

Voices of youth

Bardella brought to the party, traditionally supported by the older generation, millions of votes of young voters, dissatisfied with high prices, unemployment, the inability to buy a home and plan for the future.

He speaks to them in their language and their platforms — Bardella has become a star on TikTok, where he has 1,6 million subscribers. In the comments to his posts, there are declarations of love, more appropriate for fans of pop stars and movies.

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A video of Bardella and Marine Le Pen walking across a field in snow-white shirts before the European elections, and Le Pen asking to vote for Jordan Bardella to give France a good victory, has gained more than 6 million views on his account in two days.

His popularity in France is not in doubt: Bardella became the only politician in the list of the 50 most popular Frenchmen compiled by Le Journal du Dimanche. According to the Ipsos survey, about a third of young people aged 18 to 24 were going to vote for him in the European elections.

Further plans

After losing the 2017 presidential election to Macron, Marine Le Pen renamed the National Front to the National Union. In 2018, Jordan Bardella headed its youth department.

And in 2019, his first big success came to him - in the elections to the European Parliament, the Le Pen party took first place, and the 23-year-old Bardella became a member of the European Parliament.

Shortly after the European elections, he joined the party's Executive Bureau and became its second chairman. And in 2022, Marine Le Pen officially handed over leadership to him — 27-year-old Jordan Bardella became her successor and president of the National Union.

However, Marine Le Pen has not withdrawn from business at all - all key decisions in the party are made by her, but she wants to focus on the main prize - the presidential elections of 2027.

The press called him Le Pen's ideal son-in-law, and he almost became one in the literal sense - Bardella was in a romantic relationship with Marine Le Pen's niece Nolwen Olivier, they broke up shortly before the European elections.

Critics reproach him for his lack of erudition, lack of his own opinion on key issues, lack of knowledge in the field of world economics and politics, and in general, the fact that there is no substance behind his style.

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Pascal Humeau, the former head of the National Union's communications department, who pressed Bardell to speak to the media, describes him as someone who "learntly repeats Le Pen's formulas."

"He was a pacifier, a very limited person. He kept well, but he understood little about what was happening in France or the world," Humot says.

Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Marine Le Pen was often criticized for her sympathy for Vladimir Putin, but after February 2022, she came out with a sharp condemnation of Russian aggression. It is difficult to blame Bardell for pro-Russian views - he condemned the war in Ukraine, although the National Union abstained from voting in the European Parliament during the discussion of military aid to Kyiv.

Dissolving the parliament and announcing early elections, Macron made a bet that French voters, seeing behind the shiny wrapper the true face of the National Union, hearing its radical anti-immigrant rhetoric, will be frightened by the prospects of power in the hands of the far-right and will not vote for them in the elections.

But Macron can miscalculate. A recent Vérian poll showed that for the first time since 1984, more French people think the National Assembly is not a danger (45%) than they think it is a danger (41%).

According to another recent poll, the National Union will win the early elections and get between 235 and 265 seats in the National Assembly (now the party has 88 seats). And then Jordan Bardella will become the prime minister of France.