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In the corridors of the “Carré”, headquarters of the National Rally in Nanterre, boxes follow one another and employees are busy. Return intramural for the party to the flame, which will put down its suitcases rue Michel-Ange, in the XVIth arrondissement of Paris, in view of the presidential campaign. The atmosphere is studious in this political re-entry, and all eyes are already on the month of April. Marine Le Pen and her troops are putting themselves in order of battle, the campaign meetings have started, at the rate of one per week, and the party’s back-to-school weekend in Fréjus will mark the start of the candidate’s campaign, who will leave the reins of the party to Jordan Bardella.
To carry out this battle, the president of the RN has once again surrounded herself with her most loyal lieutenants, united in a team: the “campaign office”. “There is no mystery or surprise, it brings together its closest troops,” says one of the members. Among them, the ex-prefect of Dordogne Christophe Bay, the traveling companions of President Steeve Briois, Bruno Bilde, Sébastien Chenu and Philippe Ollivier, the former presenter Philippe Ballard, or the director of the 2017 campaign David Rachline. An enlarged team will complete this list, but the president’s relatives constitute the heart of the informal reactor through which everything will have to pass and without whose agreement nothing will be possible. And it’s already cringe internally. “Marine Le Pen does not have a stable cabinet, she always works according to her moods and her affects”, blows a framework.
The question of the absence of an organizational chart is a common thread in the RN, but the choice is assumed by the management team. “There will be no organization chart, because things can change,” says Philippe Olivier. Officially, the choice is justified by the desire to lead an “open campaign”, to be able to welcome new troops and get the teams moving. “We want to keep an opening signal, to have a team that can change, not to be locked into a straitjacket,” justifies party spokesman Laurent Jacobelli. Roles are starting to emerge: Laurent Jacobelli is in charge of sponsorship, Sébastien Chenu could become the candidate’s spokesperson, Philippe Olivier, as usual, will work on ideas. Unofficially, we point to the desire of those closest to them to keep control over the decision-making process, and the lack of professionalism.
In response, the initiates take out the Christophe Bay card, who will take the leadership of the campaign, touted as the mark of professionalism, the one who shakes up habits. “He has set up a strategic planning for the next 6 months, something that we absolutely did not have in 2017, he is organizing new things”, we assure the management. The only problem: disrupting the established order does not appeal to everyone. “Those who are not used to find it boring because it is no longer possible to go see Marine in a hallway to change her mind,” says a leader. So we repeat it over and over in the ranks: the role of Christophe Bay is far not frozen, and he can be seated on an ejection seat. Despite a good knowledge of the workings of public life, there is no consensus on the figure of the prefect. “He has no political sense, he will be a purely administrative director,” says a former traveling companion.
“We need operational, guys in action! Claims a close friend of Jordan Bardella. Someone like Philippe Vardon, by the time Christophe Bay opens his mouth, has already had nine ideas.” A recent anecdote concentrates the mockeries of the most skeptical: “This so brilliant campaign director still let his candidate have their photo taken with the portrait of Adolf Hitler in the background, it’s appalling, chuckles an elected. C t is proof that she is surrounded by amateurs, her team is low to the ground. ” And the nickname “the lose team” is starting to spread through the party ranks. “Already no one believes in victory anymore, it is not with this team that we will succeed in making the crowds dream”,
Aware of the emerging criticisms, some relatives are trying to correct the course. “Marine Le Pen likes to surround herself with people you trust to work with a team she knows inside out, but she may have narrowed the circle too much, admits a member of the campaign team. is why I try to push so that we hire profiles from outside. ” But internally, the most skeptical assure it: this clan model, too anchored, will never be called into question. It is, according to them, the very DNA of the president of the RN. “It’s written in her genes, assures a former relative. Like all Le Pens, Marine, to be in battle order, needs to feel surrounded, secure, she needs to be loved!”.