Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Humiliation for Le Pen as party is forced to sell HQ
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French far-right leader, said his party is in "serious financial crisis" and might have to sell its headquarters.

Such a step would be a devastating psychological blow to the National Front as it struggles to come to terms with its failures in the April and June elections and the changed political landscape of the Sarkozy era.

M. Le Pen, 79, already faces deep internal dissent as he approaches a party conference next month which will be asked to extend his leadership for another three years. Last week, one of the party's own Euro MPs – and biggest creditors – placed a legal hold on the future of the party headquarters overlooking the river Seine at Saint Cloud, west of Paris.
For more than 20 years, the National Front has been the most successful far-right and xenophobic party in any large country in western Europe. With the arrival of President Nicolas Sarkozy's brand of populist, but largely moderate, right-wing politics, its electoral appeal has been severely squeezed.

The party's finances have been plunged deeply into the red by its poor performances in the presidential and, above all, the parliamentary polls earlier this year. The NF took out large loans to finance its campaigns, expecting to repay them from state subsidies.

The size of public subsidies to political parties in France depends mostly on the percentage of votes cast in parliamentary elections. The NF share of the vote slumped to 4.29 per cent nationwide, compared to 11.3 per cent in 2002 and nearly 15 per cent in 1997.

In a radio interview yesterday, M. Le Pen said that electoral failure had "cost" his party between ¿10m (£6.9m) and ¿12m. The National Front was "not bankrupt" but was "in a severe financial crisis". If the party could not raise new loans or reschedule its debts, he said, it would "perhaps be obliged to sell" its prestigious, modern office block in Saint Cloud.
These offices, known as le paquebot (the steamship), because of their vaguely nautical look, are worth up to ¿20m. When purchased in 1994, the paquebot was a symbol of the upward mobility of a party which had risen from nowhere to challenge the alleged "corrupt" stranglehold of the left-right elite.

A distress sale would foreshadow the end of the Le Pen era – and according to some internal critics – the possible disintegration of the National Front itself.
In recent weeks, a slow-motion leadership struggle has begun for the succession to M. Le Pen. He will seek, and win, another three-year term as party president next month but even the indestructible M. Le Pen has publicly admitted that this may be the last lap of a 60-year political career.

He has let it be known, for the first time, that he would like to be succeeded by his daughter, Marine, 39. This has angered the hard-line xenophobic and the ultra-conservative Catholic wings of the NF. They place the blame for their electoral reverses largely on Marine Le Pen's attempts to remould the NF as a softer, more modern, nationalist party open to young professional people and even to different races. They complain that this allowed Nicolas Sarkozy to seize, almost without opposition, some of the NF's most successful themes: national pride, traditional moral values and a hard-line on crime and immigration.

The party's former secretary-general Carl Lang has announced that he will not challenge M. Le Pen for the leadership next month but has said that he will challenge Marine Le Pen in three years' time.

In the meantime, he warned, M. Le Pen must make room in the party hierarchy for hardliners like himself. "If not, the process of uniting the different elements of the French national right will happen elsewhere."

NWN: Deja Vu ! Haven't we seen the exact same thing occuring here in the UK ?


Anonymous said...

Ah, I see that Nick Griffin has been copying the style of the FN@ cult of the leader; atempting to a create a dynasty within the leadereship by pushing his daughter forward as the next leader; a liberalising tenedency, making the party more moderate and acceptable to the media and watering down fundamental policies; and , alst but not least, a tendency for spending members money quicker than you can say kosher, so much so that the party coffers are empty.

Anyone want to buy a used party (or car???) from Mr 'Monet Magnet' Griffin?

Maybe it's time for Mr Griffin to go to Libya again and plead poverty to Col Gadaffi@ Oh, and take along your mate Pat Harrington again on the trip - and leave him there - he's doing enough damage to the BNP and Solidarity as he did when he was in the NF.

The pair of them are a complete bunch of congenital losers.

Anonymous said...

So the FN expected to make it big from state subsidies. Note that Griffin has a fascination with the very same subsidies. Be warned.

A 'family business'. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

I know hope Marine LePen is quite happy with herself, with her non-white posters all over France.

British Nationalists take note - the public want a firm 'non-muddle' stance.

Anonymous said...

In the meantime, he warned, M. Le Pen must make room in the party hierarchy for hardliners like himself. "If not, the process of uniting the different elements of the French national right will happen elsewhere."

I would urge Lang to stay inside the FN and FIGHT!

Splitting the party is doom for the French people.

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