Who is Jordan Bardella? The 28-year-old far-Right firebrand that has Macron running scared

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun11,2024

A 28-year-old “far-Right” French politician is trouncing Emmanuel Macron’s party in the polls, in the latest setback for the struggling French President.

Jordan Bardella has ascended the ranks of National Rally – previously called the National Front – under the wing of the former party leader Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen, herself the daughter of former National Front president Jean-Marie Le Pen, described Bardella as her “lion cub”, as the political protégé emerged as the first non-Le Pen to take the reigns of the party in 2022. Le Pen meanwhile became leader of National Rally in the French parliament.

The slick-operating Bardella, who despite advocating for radically reduced migration is from a family Italian immigrants, is seen as a future challenger to Emmanuel Macron; as an MEP he is currently unable to take the fight to Macron directly, however his party is streaking away from the French president’s Renaissance party in the polls.

In fact, National Rally has been steadily pulling away from its challengers for a year now. According to Politico’s Poll of Polls, Bardella’s party, branded “far-Right” by its critics, is flying high on 33 points – twice that of its nearest rival Renaissance which sits on 15 points.

The oh-so-millennial Bardella’s grasp of social media is one of the main drivers of his success, claim commentators. A pristine smile, sharp-fitting suit, and a willingness to take selfies with anyone brandishing a smart phone has seen him woo young voters in a way scarely imaginable for a Right-wing politician in the UK.

Clips of him eating sweets and local delicacies before going on stage have been viewed millions of times, as he seeks to complete the rehabilitation of his party’s image, started under the previous leader.

National Rally’s political competitors are all too aware of Bardella’s political clout. “There’s a ‘Bardella’ phenomenon,” said an adviser from the establishment French conservative Les Républicains party.

The source told Politico: “People want to see Macron take a beating, and in a confusing way, he manages to appear as a new political proposition for the right and the far-right.”

Despite trying to recast National Rally as a more moderate force, Bardella is not shy to take on what he perceives as “rampant Islamism” and drug-related crime.

As a young man from a tough suburb of Paris, he is able to fall back on his upbringing in a way that rivals, such as former investment banker Macron cannot. However, critics have recently sought to pour cold water on the sense that he is a working class hero, pointing to his private school tuition and his father’s penchant for taking the family on foreign holidays.

Despite a healthy dose of euroscepticism, Bardella has recently trashed any notion of “Frexit”, which used to be party policy. ” You don’t walk away from the game when you’re winning”, he said in reference to National Rally’s poll position.

He is however opposed to France’s involvement in NATO’s integrated command, although he says he would not pull the country out of it whilst the war in Ukraine is ongoing. ” You don’t change treaties in wartime”, he said.

With a more than fifteen-point lead in the polls before the European ballot on 6-9 June, Bardella is sure to sweep to victory. Macron will be keeping a keen eye on whether the young firebrand will return to domestic politics and have a tilt at the presidency.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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