The wave of the right in France that scares Italy more than the French

In the aftermath of the vote for the European elections, with the overwhelming victory of the right and the dissolution of the National Assembly with a vote in just over two weeks decided by President Macron, France, its political future, are at the center of analysis, comments and above all alarms that also arrive from our country. The story is that of a nation “one step away from the precipice” (cit. Lilly Gruber) and in the grip of institutional panic. But what do the French, those directly involved, say and how do they experience this phase?

“It wasn't a shock, we expected the Right to win here in France,” Charles Le Pique, a Parisian real estate agent, immediately makes it clear. «The surprise, rather, was the dissolution of the national assembly on Sunday evening. And after 72 hours, today, perhaps we are able to prepare for the side effects.” For weeks, polls across the Alps had shown Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National as the winner, so the French were prepared and didn't make too much of a fuss about it: «Moreover, Marine has developed a clear image makeover that he immediately aimed to redesign the profile of an RN who now “sells” himself as moderate: this time it was obvious that his persuasive power would be stronger. And in fact the results arrived with 32% approval at the European elections. But you are never ready until you see it”, reflects Eugenia Veronese, an Italian teacher in the Marais, a branché neighborhood of the capital. We made a round of phone calls and video calls to understand the mood of the people in France and discovered that Macron's decision to dissolve parliament and call new elections for 30 June and 7 July could prove to be a smart exit strategy even if the commentators amiably called him a poker player: «It certainly wasn't a crazy idea as it seemed to everyone on Sunday and not even a hysterical reaction. Thinking about it, coldly, Macron put another option on the field: he called the French to the test of responsibility. Don't like this government? Then have the courage to choose another. And do it quickly because I'll only give you 18 days”, continues Eugenia. «Half of the French who did not cast their vote during the European elections will at least do so in the general elections. And we hope that they will regain the strength that built the barrage against Le Pen twice in a row.”

At the press conference the French President declared: «The EU vote could not be ignored. Early elections are the only way.” And then he called the French to the usual unity against the black wave. «It was a courageous choice, but the game is open. And it must also be said that we could no longer continue like this in the Assembly: there was no majority, the work was blocked and the President was forced to use the vote of confidence for important reforms such as pensions and several others”, explains Sandro Gozi, one of the 13 elected representatives of Renew Europe with Macron. Except that, perhaps, seeing the results, it is the French who have lost it in the government. Or it's just another way to wake him up.

But the question is: who really voted for Jordan Bardella, the Marine dolphin candidate to become prime minister? It seems that no one wants to admit it to the point that we are talking about “ghost” voters: «Many are ashamed of having given in to the Right, but my neighbor in Nice can no longer stand being robbed in the street by young Muslims radicalized in cité and chooses the FN», blurts Maria Luisa Mello, a retired physicist who spends half the year on the French Riviera. Is it possible that the French have become Islamophobic or anti-Semitic? «Sometimes it's even both things together because there are 8 million Muslims who live in France and instead of integrating they cultivate discomfort and resentment and become radicalized in the face of an excluding society and politicians. They live mostly on benefits, have free time and invest it in acts of hatred and abuse. If no way is found to right the ship, the storm will destroy a democratic and free country like France has always been.”

Will Marine Le Pen take advantage of it? In the meantime, she has redone her look and put aside the support of the extremist Éric Zemmour also because on Tuesday the support of Éric Ciotti, the Nice president of the Républicains, arrived, who split the Gaullists in order to embrace her. Not only. He ordered the closure of the party headquarters precisely to prevent colleagues opposed to the deadly kiss with Marine from distrusting him: “Security issues”, he let it slip, he who defends the Christian roots of Europe, fights against immigration and culture woke and divided the militants and sympathizers of the traditional Right.

“We will evict Ciotti from De Gaulle's office,” declared party leader Aurelienne Pradié. And a few minutes ago they really expelled him, temporarily entrusting the leadership of the party to Xavier Bellany and Annie Genevard. Will it work? However, the rise of Bardella, just 28 years old, son of divorced Italian emigrants and raised in the Parisian suburbs, seems unstoppable: «He ran an irresistible electoral campaign on Tik Tok and managed to gather the votes of young twenty-year-olds frightened by an uncertain future and without parachutes”, says Ella Bonnet, television journalist for a French satellite channel. «He has the extraordinary ability to simplify extremely complex concepts and knows how to use social media like his peers. Whether they believed him or fell for it depends on his point of view. The fact is that he has collected the votes of unemployed twenty-five year olds, the most vulnerable classes, farmers and historically right-wing Northern France. Did they allow themselves to be duped? Or, perhaps, they really believe it. It is no coincidence that Le Pen hammers home the problems of immigration, security and money and the soldiers sent to Ukraine to fight a war that is not theirs.” Will the Left be able to regroup by offering common candidates, then? «We will see it on July 7», concludes Monsieur Le Pique. «It is certainly known, at the moment, that the Left is far too plural, fragmented and has different sensitivities on fundamental social issues and important topics such as the environment, the autonomy of France from Europe, the economy». Good chance.