Party president Marine Le Pen announced the idea to change the name to Rassemblement National (the National Rally) on Sunday, at the end of the party congress in the city of Lille.
Ready to Collaborate
Le Pen, re-elected president this weekend, wants to rebrand the party, which celebrated its 45th anniversary last October, and to attract new voters. The FN has often faced allegations of racism and antisemitism, but Marine Le Pen has been trying for years to mellow the party image.
"[FN's] number one task is not the same as it was in the beginning, being a party of protest, but a party looking to getting the power. Clearly for that it needs a partner; it’s impossible that they could do it alone. So the most important conclusion of this change [of name] is a display of the fact that party wishes to have a partner in order to come to power," Boy explained.
Change of Policy
The FN needs to change more than its name if it wants to attract new partners, and that might prove difficult for the party, Pascal Perrineau, a researcher at Sciences Po University in Paris, told Sputnik.
"One needs a deliberate strategy to find partners, or to have the program evolve, or be ready to compromise. Compromise is not in the culture of the National Front. That’s the main problem. They don’t have culture of compromise, no culture to sit down at the table with those they disagree with and negotiate," Perrineau said.
"This operation stays largely cosmetic, with Marine Le Pen trying to regain control of the leadership, because she knows that she is being challenged from within the party," Perrineau concluded.
The FN were able to test the attractiveness of their political program during the 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections, and some of their ideas need to be tweaked, Perrineau said.
"Their position regarding the euro wasn’t understood by the public opinion. Their discourse on immigration is seen by many of the French as violent, as confrontational rhetoric, and the French, even though they are worried about immigration, they don’t want confrontation either," the researcher said.
The FN party is strongly against immigration and urges for the tightening of the French borders. It has also suggested quitting the eurozone and returning to franc. Marine Le Pen made it to the presidential run-off, but lost to markedly pro-European Emmanuel Macron.
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