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the core of this party are declared racists

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In the 1990s, Jean-Marie Le Pen called French footballers of African descent foreigners. These were not his most outrageous words. For another statement, he was thrown out of his own party by his own daughter. Today, the National Rally, previously the National Front, is the largest party in parliament. “The core of this party, however, are people who in a recent poll openly declared that they were racists by 54 percent,” points out Piotr Moszyński, a former journalist for French radio RFI.

In the first round of French parliamentary elections on June 30, the National Rally and its allies won over 33 percent of the vote, the most of any group. A second round will be held on July 7 – in those districts that have not yet elected a member of parliament. It is not yet certain whether the National Rally will have an independent majority.

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In 1972, former soldier Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the National Front, a far-right party bringing together veterans of the Algerian War and former French collaborators with the Vichy regime.

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Two years later, Le Pen ran for president, only to receive less than one percent of the vote and remain on the margins of French politics for a quarter of a century, his trademark racist and xenophobic statements including denying or belittling the crimes of the Holocaust.

Anti-Semite, racist and homophobe Jean-Marie Le Pen

– The gas chambers are just a detail of the history of World War II. If you take a 1,000-page book about a war in which 50 million people died, the concentration camps take up two pages and the gas chambers 10 or 15 lines, and that's called a detail – said Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2015.

In the 1980s, Jean-Marie Le Pen called for the forced isolation of people with HIV. In 1997, he accused President Jacques Chirac of being secretly financed by Jewish organizations.

After France won the 1998 World Cup, Le Pen insulted players of African descent, calling them foreigners.

In 2002, the world was shocked when the anti-Semite, racist, and homophobic Jean-Marie Le Pen entered the second round of the presidential election, winning almost 17 percent of the vote. In the second round, the so-called “republican front” came into play – voters of the left, center, and moderate right stood behind Jacques Chirac, who won 80 percent of the vote.

READ ALSO: “When I woke up, I was no longer a little girl.” The turbulent life of Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen commented on the election resultsTVN24

The daughter threw her father out

The daughter of the founder of the National Front has been regularly bumping into the pro-democracy wall to this day. Marine Pen replaced her father as party leader in 2011. In 2015, she kicked him out for an anti-Semitic statement.

“Jean-Marie Le Pen can do whatever he wants. He is a citizen and if he wants to create another movement, well, he will. I am not afraid of any problems. What happened was painful, but it was an absolutely necessary and inevitable clarification of the matter,” Marine Le Pen said at the time.

After getting rid of her father, Marine Le Pen began a process that continues to this day of “de-demonizing the National Front,” showing a human, even smiling face to the far right. In 2018, the party changed its name from the National Front to National Rally, because Le Pen said the old name was an “insurmountable psychological barrier” for many French people.

– She noticed that radicalism doesn't sell well, that the former National Front, currently the National Rally, if it doesn't soften its slogans, if it doesn't bring social, economic and even a little bit international issues to the forefront, it will simply never win and will never become a party that the population could start to consider a government party, capable of governing – commented Piotr Moszyński, a former journalist of the French radio RFI.

“The core of this party has not changed”

Marine Le Pen has brought her party closer to the political center, liberalizing the party's approach to abortion and same-sex relationships. She has retained the extreme right-wing DNA of her father's party: aggressive nationalism, including economic nationalism, limiting immigrants' rights, opposition to globalization and multiculturalism.

“I know many people would like to bury me, but I have to tell them that this corpse is fine,” said Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2015.

– Let's not forget that the core of this party has not changed. The core of this party is people who, in a recent poll, 54 percent openly declared that they are racists – Piotr Moszyński pointed out.

Today, the National Rally no longer talks about France leaving the European Union, but about fighting for a “Europe of nations.” The current leader of the party, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, talks about support for Ukraine so that voters will forget about his mentor's ties to Vladimir Putin and her campaigns financed with Kremlin money.

READ ALSO: Mbappe: We can't give power to these people

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main image source: Chesnot/Getty Images

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