of the death penalty at work, ambiguity as a doctrine – L’Express

1705899011 the front page of LExpress in La Loupe – LExpress

Of their tribute to Robert Badinter, their silences are more revealing than their words. Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella paid tribute with restraint to the memory of the former Minister of Justice, who died on February 9. The first praised a “man of convictions”, whose “we could not share all the struggles”. The second bowed to the one who “defended his ideals all his life, with constancy and eloquence”. The abolition of the death penalty, a legacy of the former Minister of Justice, is not mentioned in these messages published on X (formerly Twitter).

However, the National Rally removed the reinstatement of capital punishment from its program in 2017. But its representatives are careful not to express any philosophical opposition to this criminal sanction. No warning of vengeful justice. No absolute defense of human life. Jordan Bardella affirmed his hostility on Sunday on France 3, without giving it meaning. The boss of the RN is more forthcoming on “the collapse of the scale of sentences” since 1981 and the defense of “real life”.

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Sociological evolution and vagueness

Frontist doxa reconciles opposites. The supporter of the death penalty can applaud this muscular speech, purged of all “morality”. His opponent need not fear the return of the guillotine. In 2022, Marine Le Pen already advocated a three-year “moratorium” on “societal issues”… while promising the introduction of a citizens’ initiative referendum (RIC) on these themes. The Frontist doctrine is not proposed to the voter. It’s up to him to build it, this avoids making mistakes.

At the RN, come as you are. This ideological ambiguity increases in proportion to the expansion of the RN’s electoral base. The party wishes to penetrate new social circles, addresses voters with divergent interests, and adapts its discourse accordingly. But there is hardly any improvement on the horizon. One doctrine does not follow another. Rather, it is replaced by a thick fog, onto which everyone can project their convictions.

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Like at work. The far-right party must respond to contradictory expectations: a demand for protection of its popular electorate and a valorization of the merit of the middle classes. Three out of four RN deputies opposed the conditioning of the RSA to fifteen hours of weekly activity in the National Assembly in September. Jordan Bardella nevertheless defended on February 4 the existence of “counterparties to social benefits of this type”. A minister was choked up recently: “On the full employment text, they criticized us for targeting the weakest and developed a criticism of welfare. They also gain on both counts.”

Deconstruction or doctrinal camouflage

Ambiguity fuels entire sections of the RN program. Marine Le Pen defends debt repayment – “an essential moral aspect” – despite budgetary proposals auguring more massive spending than substantial savings. She put aside her promise to leave the EU… but increased her attacks against Europe after calls for help from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the Lampedusa crisis. “It’s been a long time since they resumed such a nationalist discourse,” noted an executive advisor in September. “The only thing that prevents part of the electorate from voting for them is the fear of the unknown.” towards Europe and our international commitments.”

The Frontist doctrine mixes vagueness and radicality. The latter takes its source from the RN’s migration program. But here again, the party uses ambiguity to broaden its spectrum. By emphatically detecting an “ideological victory” during the adoption of the Immigration law in December, he smoothed out his own electoral offer. If the government comes to my land, how can I qualify my political offer? If my ideas spread everywhere, aren’t they more difficult to grasp? “They are establishing the idea that their accession to power would lead them to pursue a more moderate policy than those they defend to gain access,” analyzes a Renaissance deputy. In January 2023, Jordan Bardella promised the advent of an “essential” RN […] on the terrain of ideas”. Since then, the party has not produced any new ideas. Its doctrinal work is at best a deconstruction, at worst a camouflage.