It’s Christmas every day right now for the National Rally. Not a week goes by without the far-right party claiming an “ideological victory”. Latest: Gérald Darmanin’s announcement of a constitutional revision to abolish land law on the island of Mayotte, plagued by a significant flow of illegal immigration. “There is a lot of work in Mayotte, as there is in Guyana, to establish the law of the Republic. Because there are not two categories of French and not two categories of territories”, assured yet Gérald Darmanin in 2018 on France 2 during a debate with Jean-Marie Le Pen. “Marine Le Pen has been heard”, “How much time wasted” boast the frontists, who have been supporting this measure for years. The RN insists on this supposed success to extract itself from its doctrinal isolation and complete its demonization enterprise. As he did after the vote on the immigration law, emphatically detecting in the restriction of the granting of APL to foreigners an establishment of “national priority”. And since the breach is open, why stop there?
“Why what is possible in Mayotte would not be possible throughout the country?, party president Jordan Bardella pretended to wonder on France Info this Monday. We must remove land law across the whole of the territory.” This change of footing by the government allows the RN to put its historic proposal back on the table and to advance its pawns in this cultural battle. At the cost of a risky parallel between the situation in Mayotte and in France. “What is happening in Mayotte is to be watched with great interest, because it is the future of our territory”, assured again this morning Jordan Bardella, ignoring the differences between the Mayotte and metropolitan situations: according to the ‘Insee, Mayotte is populated by 310,000 inhabitants, 48% of whom are Comorian immigrants or those from other African countries.
“Some want to redeem their virility after the sequence of the immigration law”
The president of the far-right party has found an ally in the person of Eric Ciotti. The boss of LR called on Sunday on The deputy for Alpes-Maritimes launched this proposal in the 2021 primary to stop the disintegration of the “French soul”. The subject should be on the menu of the meeting of the group of LR deputies this Tuesday.
Today, the right has warmed to the idea of restricting this mechanism for granting French nationality. A bill presented this fall by LR planned to “erase” the law if the foreign parents were in an irregular situation at the time of the child’s birth or in the event of a criminal record when applying for nationality. “The restriction of land rights is a necessity for the entire French territory,” defends MEP François-Xavier Bellamy. An LR executive, however, deplores a “cream pie debate.” “The fundamental question of our internal immigration is not the law of the soil. But some want to redeem their virility after the sequence of the immigration law.”
A threat to the executive
The tabling of a constitutional bill on Mayotte would allow LR to keep this debate alive through the tabling of amendments. But, aware that it will not be able to vote for anything alone, the right assures that it will not wage this cultural war at all costs and that it will vote for a restriction of land rights limited to Mayotte. With an already established argument: the situation on the island is an emergency, and not a matter of negotiation.
This double offensive is a threat to the executive. No majority can be formed in the Assembly to cut the law of the land into pieces. But it can fuel confusion between a government project limited to a territory and a national project carried by oppositions. The pragmatism brandished by those in power responds to essentially ideological approaches. “We must not come across as those who come to RN lands,” summarizes Macronist senator François Patriat. Losing this communication battle means offering a cultural victory to the far right. And what does the exceptional situation in Mayotte matter? In politics, perception and reality are one.