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Eric Ciotti

Eric Ciotti Suggests Cooperation with Far-Right National Rally in Potential Snap Elections

Paris, June 11, 2024, The Europe Today: Eric Ciotti, the leader of the conservative French political party Les Republicans (LR), surprised political observers on Tuesday by suggesting it might be time to end the longstanding taboo against working with the far-right National Rally (NR) party. Ciotti’s comments come in the context of potential snap elections called by centrist President Emmanuel Macron following the European parliamentary elections held on Sunday.

Speaking on TF1 TV, Ciotti stated, “We say the same things, so let’s stop making up imagined opposition. This is what the vast majority of our voters want. They’re telling us, ‘reach a deal.'” His remarks signal a possible shift in French politics, traditionally characterized by a strict separation between mainstream conservative parties and the far-right.

However, the suggestion has sparked significant controversy within the LR. Several party members, including parliamentarian Philippe Gosselin, voiced strong opposition to any alliance with the NR. “It’s unthinkable for me (and many LR MPs) that there could be the slightest agreement, the slightest alliance, even local, or personal, with the RN,” Gosselin told Reuters news agency.

Jordan Bardella, president of the NR, expressed support for Ciotti’s proposal, stating on France 2 television that his party would back “several dozen” current Republican MPs and their candidates in the election. “I confirm there will be an accord between the National Rally and the Republicans,” Bardella told France 2, according to AFP news agency.

Despite the NR’s expected strong performance in the upcoming elections on June 30 and July 7, polls indicate that it is unlikely to secure enough votes to govern independently. Talks among various political factions on both the left and right have been ongoing since Macron’s decision to dissolve parliament.

In a related development, Marion Marechal of Eric Zemmour’s smaller far-right Reconquest party announced that talks between her party and her aunt Marine Le Pen’s NR had failed. Nonetheless, the NR welcomed Ciotti’s overture, seeing it as an opportunity to strengthen their political influence.

The LR has faced challenges in recent years, struggling to redefine its identity after the decline of its Gaullist legacy, marked by the downfall of Nicolas Sarkozy and a centrist defection led by Macron. Ciotti’s proposal to cooperate with the NR could represent a significant shift in the party’s strategy as it seeks to regain political power in France.