Marine Le Pen: an unfinished transformation

Marin Le Pen knocks on his office window. At the request, she launches: “Caro, coffee, please! “, Grimacing at his request. Carol? This is Caroline Parmantier, a loyal press attaché who watches over her boss like a lioness over her offspring. This Thursday, February 3, at 15:00 at the headquarters of the National Rally “Captaincy” on the street Michel-Ange. The presidential candidate continues to meet with the press. From the professional press for doctors to the national daily newspaper. The day before she had already received Le Figaro for a big interview that was to officially launch his campaign.

That day, Marine Le Pen is sitting at his desk made of solid wood. This is not a collector’s item. Caro found him at Le Bon Coin. The candidate likes it. She prefers it to modern furniture, white or black, without soul, without severity, without history. A bronze falcon stands by the window. Marianne’s bust follows the visitors who enter the chef’s office. That day the candidate of RN dis. “I like flexible campaigns when you decide what to do,” she says, snapping her fingers. Events scheduled for two weeks in advance never last.

The day after the disappointing first round of the 2021 regional elections, she called Nicolas Bey, head of the Normandy list and future Zemmurian defector: “Do you think our voters are only interested in the presidential election? »

Marin Le Pen thinks of Eric Zemmour, of those who betrayed her to join him, of the voters who could have voted for him. “I resent him for caricaturing our ideas,” she said of the former journalist. “I haven’t lost any friends,” she said, referring to the rally. “I have a theory: I think that a voter who votes for a radical candidate can vote for a moderate candidate in the second round of the presidential election. The opposite is impossible, ”she said of the lost sheep. Then she leans over her desk. We ask her how the five years that separated her from 2017 have changed her and how she has recovered from it. She does not like such questions. “But hey, you have to go through this,” she breathes. Three days later in Reims, Marine Le Pen surrenders to his militants. She trusts them: “I’m ready.”

Saint Lazarus. Was she really enough? In this election, 53-year-old Marine Le Pen really believed in it. Ahead of the 2021 regional elections, she admitted: “The difference from 2017 is that this time in 2002 I can win.” The defeat of the front in this election threw him off balance. On Monday, June 21, the day after the first round, she called Nicolas Bey, head of the list in Normandy and a future defector from Zemmuria: “Do you think our voters are only interested in the presidential election? »

She received an answer, but not enough voters voted for her. Jean-Philippe Tangi, her deputy campaign manager, has always believed that she can be chosen because of the mouse hole. That was not the case. She will not be able to invite Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, to the Elysee exhibitions. And yet the numbers speak for themselves. Menhir would have dreamed of such a score in the second round. The youngest daughter of the clan led the party to the flames to the top. But that was not enough. The “redemonization” of the intermediate rounds was not very effective, but Marine Le Pen lacked something, such as an unfinished transformation.

On Tuesday, April 19, Marine Le Pen is in the west of France in a secret residence. To get there, councilors must take a train to Saint-Lazare. Travel time? At least two hours. That morning she was surrounded by nine councilors. There are Reno Labay, his chief of staff, Christophe Bay and Jean-Philippe Tanghi, director and deputy director of the campaign, Philippe Olivier, his political adviser and brother-in-law. There are also advisers unknown to the general public: normaliens, polytechniciens, enarques. They are all tasked with preparing the candidate for the ultimate test: the debate against Emmanuel Macron.

One of them slips into the skin of the incumbent president. He imitates it to perfection. From 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Marine Le Pen confronts him in a fake real duel. This “white debate” is so well organized that it is a perfect replica of the real debate that took place the following evening in front of 15 million voters. There is everything: elements of speech, gestures, rhetoric, arguments, attacks.

“Macron realized what had escaped the Marine on the evening of the debate. He understood that it was a fight to the death, a fight to the death.

Forty-eight hours later, it’s a disappointment. A relative of the candidate wonders: why did she not win this game? What happened ? Why was her candidate silent in front of his opponent? This Wednesday, April 20, Marine Le Pen seemed sluggish, defending herself from the blows of Emmanuel Macron. She missed the start of the fight: she started dating very early, when the captions started. Doubts arose, and Marine Le Pen allowed herself to be mistreated.

She lost her purchasing power, did not respond or did not respond to her opponent’s accusations of a Russian loan to finance her party, did not cancel the retirement match at 65, proposed by Emmanuel Macron. “Macron understood what escaped the Marine that evening, admits a close friend of the candidate. He understood that it was a fight to the death, a fight to the death. “But then what happened in the candidate’s head?” “In fact, Marine Le Pen has never tasted blood,” said a friend who was tired of anticipating the defeat of his camp.

Gardening. “I am tired of the sound and the rage. I want to be able to work and rest, ”the RN candidate launched Figaro, during his interview in early February. These two sentences summarize the psychology of those who dreamed of revenge in 2017. Marine Le Pen no longer wants violence. “Radicality is 15% in the first round, but 20% in the second,” said Jordan Bardella, the political successor to Marineism, when many thought Eric Zemmour would be in the second round. “Demonization has never been an organized strategy, on the contrary,” Nicholas Bay always thought. And yet it was the heart of Philippe Olivier’s thinking. “The center will win the presidential election! “- he says from July 2021.

But it’s not just that. In the program “Intimate Ambitions” M6, the French open a new life for the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the devil of the Republic. She has cats. She also has her own breeder’s diploma. She cuts apples. She drinks an aperitif in her garden. She lives with one of her oldest friends. The right-wing strategist laughs: “She lives in a country house, like any Frenchwoman! She lives like them! Can they believe it’s Le Pen? Demonization is over. »

“She’s a left-handed woman,” says Zemmur. “Crypto-left,” adds Nicholas Bay. They forget that the stronghold of the candidate is no longer Montreux and the large obsolete residence of the Le Pen family, but Henin-Beaumont, a working-class area with red brick houses.

The former front-runner, who took part in the 2002 campaign, is surprised to see her again: “I’ve never seen her so well.” He would later say that he had revealed the secret: “She is a gardener.” “She’s a mother cat,” admits Julien Rochedi, a former war veteran. in Espressowe learn that she does karaoke at her home with LCI and LCI reporters Figaro. in Worldthat she ate couscous with Rachel Hahn, the author Racy (Observatory, 2021). When Philippe Nguyen, an enark and entrepreneur, meets Marine Le Pen, he tells himself that she is a “selective hypermnesian.”

Spread. All these meetings enriched Marin Le Pen. With Nguyen, she learns what it is spread (the difference between the Franco-German exchange rates), collects a project of the French sovereign wealth fund of 500 billion. Technical and complex project, but which was the architecture of his economic policy. She never managed to meet him. With Rachel Khan, she changes her view of dual citizenship and smooths out her discourse on identity. Marine Le Pen has never been identical and reactionary.

During meetings with the French, she changes the veil. It is developed on the basis of debt, the Schengen area or the European Convention on Human Rights. In a column that has never been published, it announces a large “framework conference in the summer of 2022 on wages, pensions, employment and vocational training” with the social partners, if elected.

Marion Marshall shudders: Eric Zemmour wants to erase the red line separating the right and the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, on the contrary, wants the system to accept it. “She’s a left-handed woman,” says Eric Zemmour. “She’s a crypto-leftist,” adds Nicholas Bay. They forget that the stronghold of the candidate is no longer Montreux and the large obsolete residence of the Le Pen family, but Henin-Beaumont in Pas-de-Calais, a working-class area with red brick houses.

Faced with the normalization of Marin Le Pen and the demonization of Eric Zemmour, Nicholas Bay is furious and tries to joke: “She was in contact with the devil for forty years! Marin Le Pen is now immune to his father. But this Sunday, April 24, that was not enough. She was not elected the first president of the French Republic.

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