The French BFM television broadcast their speech live. Almost all the news sent clips. Such is the case in France when Marine Le Pen, party leader of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN), celebrates her political debut after the summer holidays.
Strange only: "The hall almost fell asleep," reported the BFM reporter from on the spot on the Côte d'Azur, from the small Mediterranean town of Fréjus, where since 2014 ruled a RN mayor. At the same time, Le Pen could easily have roused the room filled with two hundred members of his own party youth.
"We want to live like French because we are at home in France", she said - and already the well-known chants "We are at home!" ("On est chez nous!"), With which RN fans want to exclude other nationalities. But Le Pen gave her followers no reason for further singing this Sunday.
Instead, she worked on a new, apparently soporific party doctrine for her audience. Did that make her speech happen?
"Forgive the sparse nature of my remarks"
The BFM commentators then worked hard: "That was not a classic talk of her," said Vice-Political Affairs Jérémy Brossard, attesting: "It is undoubtedly not wrong" when it came to the laxity of the debates in the French parliament. Apparently, Le Pen had some observers on ice.
"Forgive the sparse nature of my remarks," warned the party leader in her speech, largely refraining from popular criticism of President Emmanuel Macron. Instead, she presented "an alternative project entitled to majority." Lo and behold: Le Pen pleaded for "the ecological society that we want", even more: for an "ecological civilization".
What is the big topic for Le Pen?
The key to this is for the right-wing extremist "the return to the local". Of course, that should allude to the upcoming municipal elections in France in March. But Le Pen sees in the "break between city and country" the today decisive social contradiction of western societies: "To compensate for it will be the great history of the presidential elections of 2022," she said.
So no longer left to right, no longer primarily globalizers against national, as they used to say, but village against metropolis. In her speech, Le Pen called for "democratization," criticizing life in small towns that were "phantom cities emptied at 6 pm," and required large cities to revitalize the "village spirit" of neighborhoods.
Le Pen railed against concrete projects and the American suburban model, against the grueling Parisian commuter traffic and astronomical rental rates in the big cities. No right-wing extremist topics per excellence. Everything, as Le Pen himself explained, was due to the social movement of the Yellow West: "The big issue that has come to light in the Yellow West crisis is the territorial break."
Will Le Pen soon launch the uprising of the province against Paris under green flags?
Paris Vice-Mayor Jean-Louis Missika, responsible for urbanism and economic development in the capital, rightly conceded to Le Pen: "The main contradiction between progressives and populists, which President Macron has hitherto conjured, will give way to a new major contradiction between them, who want to tackle the climate crisis slowly, and those who recognize a real urgency to act ". It sounded like Missika was already ranking Le Pen among the latter.
"Marine Le Pen only plays with words"
In fact, there is only one, more well-known environmental politician in the ranks of the RN: the newly elected MEP Hervé Juvin, who in 2013 in an essay his idea of "Europe as the first ecological civilization" developed this year in the European election campaign of the Party entrance found. Juvin is according to Parisian media reports as the successor to the former ideological leader Marine Le Pen, Florian Philippot, who has left the party.
Philippot came from the left, his topic was social policy. Juvin now comes to Le Pen as a traditional conservative, with his penchant for ecology. "In order to maintain biodiversity, it is essential to ensure a clear demarcation of the territory, ie the return to borders," said Juvin recently in the newspaper Figaro.
For the party spokeswoman for the French Green Party (EELV), Sandra Regol, all this has little to do with genuine interest in the environment. "Marine Le Pen only plays with words," Regol criticized Le Pens' speech. But President Macron, who is also not exactly green, must be careful: his great opponent seems to have a good command of the game. If her most confident followers fall asleep, she can do it better.