The French nationalist Right, as opposed to the establishment Right represented by Nicolas Sarkozy, has been splintering off from Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National for years. The latest open act of mutiny against the FN comes from Carl Lang, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), who has announced he will introduce his own list, in opposition to that of Marine Le Pen, in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2009.
Lang is MEP for the FN in the North of France, the party’s stronghold with the best chances of being elected for the European Parliament. Recently, however, Jean-Marie Le Pen decided to put his own daughter on top of the list there instead of Lang, the historic leader of the FN and incumbent MEP for the region.
“I am not on a campaign against Marine Le Pen. Rather it is she who is campaigning against me,” Lang said, affirming that he “had no confidence” in Marine Le Pen “ever since she has been the de facto leader of the Front National.” Citing “purges,” he accused the daughter of Le Pen “of systematically eliminating all those who do not pledge their allegiance to her person.”
Ms Le Pen, vice-president of the party, expressed her “stupefaction” after his announcement, insisting that she had offered Lang the second place on the list. She said that Lang’s “profoundly disappointing action” proves that he is only serving “his own petty personal interests.” Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, denounced Lang’s move as being orchestrated by a coalition of plotters including Philippe de Villiers, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, and other friends of Lang.
Earlier this year there was the formation of the NDP (New Popular Right) headed by Robert Spieler, and its first splinter party: the NDR (New Republican Right) headed by Jean-François Touzé. In addition, there is Philippe de Villiers’ MPF (Movement for France), Bruno Mégret’s MNR (National Republican Movement), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s group he calls Debout la République (Up With the Republic – roughly translated). There are others, but why go into them? It is an alphabet soup of M’s, R’s and D’s with the names all sounding alike – except the Front National. The FN is the best known and so far most successful attempt to be an opposition party. But for the proprietary hold Le Pen has over the FN, it would probably still be a united (however unwillingly) force for nationalism.
While Le Pen’s personality, and his daughter’s whims, are the immediate reason for the splintering, there are basic ideological issues as well. They boil down to one thing: you are either among the pro’s or among the anti’s, i.e., pro-America and its pro-Israel corollary vs anti-America and its anti-Israel corollary. As of now, the NDP (of Spieler) is among the very vocal anti’s. So is a neo-pagan group called Terre et Peuple. They have both rallied to Carl Lang. The NDR (of Touzé) and MPF (of Villiers) are among the pro’s. The others seem to be closer to the pro’s, with reservations.
The Fractured French Right Fractures Further, 1 October 2008
Thoughts on Le Pen, 13 May 2008
A New Movement Forms, 7 May 2008