Jordan Bardella: the 28-year-old 'captain' of France's far-right party

Jordan Bardella, the far-right party leader who inflicted a stinging defeat on President Emmanuel Macron's alliance in European elections, is a self-confident 28-year-old hailed by supporters as a political phenomenon but seen by detractors as lacking substance.

Bardella, raised in a single-parent home, in 2022 officially became the leader of the anti-immigration National Rally (RN) party aged just 27, but boasting the communication skills of a much older politician.

The RN, with Bardella leading its list, scored double the number of votes of Macron's centrist alliance in the European Parliament elections -- prompting Macron to announce on television that he was dissolving parliament and calling snap elections for June 30.

"France has given its verdict and there is no appeal," said Bardella, as he earlier urged Macron to call elections.

"Our compatriots have expressed a desire for change but also a path for the future," he told supporters, adding the result showed the "determination of our country for the European Union to change direction".

"It is wind of hope and it is only the start," he said, describing Macron as a "weakened president".

'Not against Europe'

Bardella took over the RN's leadership from Marine Le Pen, who has been trying to rid the party of the racist and anti-Semitic imprint left by her father and party co-founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Le Pen, who was runner-up in the last two presidential elections, has remained party leader in parliament and is largely expected to run again in 2027.

(AFP)


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