Bardella attacks the EU as he presents his program, but runs away from questions

The leader of the Rassemblement National Party (National Rally) lashed out at “overly bureaucratic” Europe and mass immigration, while hinting at the dissolution of the Assembly in the event of a “disavowal” of the presidential party at the European elections in June.

Just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on Europe, the leader of the far-right RN party, Jordan Bardella, held a last-minute press conference on April 25 to unveil his campaign for the European elections. An event that didn’t go exactly as planned.

A major blow for the Rassemblement National

It was a major blow for the Rassemblement National. Although the party is still leading in the polls for the forthcoming European elections, with 31% according to the latest Harris Interactive Toluna poll for Challenges, M6, and RTL, far ahead of the majority list led by Valérie Hayer (16%) and the PS-Place publique list (Socialists), led by Raphaël Glucksmann, a number of incidents have disrupted Marine Le Pen’s party in recent days. Even before Jordan Bardella’s press conference.

But above all, the 28-year-old candidate, who is soaring ahead in the polls, couldn’t resist criticizing President Macron for his involvement in the election campaign.

The President of the Republic has taken it upon himself to intervene directly and personally in an election campaign. Intervening in this way is a direct personal commitment—a symbolic and eminently political commitment. And political and personal commitments necessarily entail political responsibility. The concrete and immediate consequence, as we have said, should be the dissolution of the National Assembly. Today’s highly political intervention makes this option inevitable in the event of an electoral rejection of President Macron’s list.

Jordan Bardella, head of the RN list for the European elections

The head of the Rassemblement National’s list set out his program against what he pretends is an overly bureaucratic Europe and massive immigration.

He also expressed his opposition to EU membership for Ukraine, while Paris is one of the strongest supporters of Kyiv, which is suffering from Russia’s war.

After 20 min of announcement Bardella suddenly left

The announcement lasted for only 20 minutes before the candidate suddenly left the stage, refusing to answer questions. Bardella gave the floor to his campaign manager, visibly uncomfortable as journalists expressed their displeasure.

This is not the first time Jordan Bardella has run away from confrontation with the media and opponents, a sign of weakness. He has already refused to take part in three debates against his opponents, including one on the environment last week in Angers. 

RN scandals: praise for Putin, complaint of complicity in crimes against humanity

His refusal to respond comes at a time when the Rassemblement National is facing a wave of scandals. Number three on the RN list, Fabrice Leggeri, former head of Frontex, was recently the subject of a complaint lodged by two NGOs accusing him of complicity in crimes against humanity for his part in turning back migrants in the Mediterranean.

Saidali Boina Hamissi, the departmental representative of the Rassemblement National in Mayotte, was initially included on the RN list for the European elections. He described Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as a “visionary” and also described the inhabitants of a Mamoudzou neighborhood targeted by a police operation as “vermin” and “cockroaches.”. 

Then, on Tuesday, April 2, Le Monde and Franceinfo revealed that the number 3 on the RN list for the European elections, Fabrice Leggeri, was the target of a complaint for complicity in crimes against humanity and complicity in torture. Is this enough to unsettle the head of the list, Jordan Bardella, when he delivers his speech, which is supposed to respond to Emmanuel Macron’s speech on Europe?

On the European stage, the RN’s main ally in Germany, the far-right AfD party, has been hit by accusations of corruption following revelations that a parliamentary assistant spied for China. In addition, the far-right AfD party was hit by the scandal surrounding the Voice of Europe platform, which was accused of promoting Russian influence in Europe and involving bribery of MEPs.

Why did Bardella give the floor to his campaign manager?

After a 20-minute keynote address during which he “stumbled over a lot of words,” according to BFMTV, Jordan Bardella left the room at the end of his speech without taking the time to answer journalists’ questions. An exercise left to his campaign manager, Alexandre Loubet. 

Later in the evening, a member of the team of the head of the RN list for the European elections told BFMTV that the main person concerned had “not felt well and that he was not supposed not to answer journalists’ questions himself”. He apparently went to lie down in his office to take a nap and was clearly “not happy with himself,” in the words of his entourage.

Nevertheless, this event, in addition to the scandals, can affect RN’s ranking in voters’ support in France.

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