Florian Philippot started Les Patriotes as an 'offshoot' to the Front National
Florian Philippot said the newly founded far-right movement will strive to “follow through” on Marine Le Pen’s concession speech promise to “transform” the party.
The night she lost the presidency to Emmanuel Macron, Ms Le Pen pledged to overhaul Front National and turn it into the main opposition to France’s new centrist leader.
Ms Le Pen said that FN had to “deeply renew itself,” adding that she would start the deep transformation of her movement in order to make a “new political force”.
Ms Le Pen did not say whether she would change her party's name, but said she would reach out beyond the current Front National and reconstruct the French political landscape around a “patriots” versus “globalists” divide.
But whilst Mr Philippot claims that his new movement is pro-FN, many hardcore Le Pen supporters, including Louis Aliot, one of the party’s vice presidents and Ms Le Pen’s long-time partner, see it as an attempt by Mr Philippot to undermine the far-right chief’s uncontested leadership.
Among them is Front National MEP Gilles Lebreton who tweeted: “I will not join The Patriots. I am 100% FN and stand by Mrs Le Pen.”
Marine Le Pen has pledged to overhaul the Front National
Marion Le Pen in pictures
Tue, May 9, 2017
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of defeated French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and a National Front lawmaker, announced that she will not run for re-election in the June legislative elections
1 of 13
Marion Marechal-Le Pen will announce that she leaves her political mandates, according to the far-right National Front
I am 100% Front National and stand by Mrs Le Pen
Gilles Lebreton of Front National
Mr Lebreton’s message was retweeted by more than one hundred FN supporters, including Mr Aliot.
FN official Pascal Gannat also said: “Why form a new far-right movement? The party led by Mrs Le Pen is more than enough.”
Mr Philippot, however, maintains that The Patriots is not a rival party, but an “offshoot” of Front National.
Mr Philippot has been accused of undermining Ms Le Pen
Ms Le Pen’s right-hand man sparked outrage last week after he threatened to resign if the party dropped its policy of ditching the European currency in an attempt to broaden its political appeal.
Whilst a large majority of Le Pen supporters back a return to the national currency, the French franc, opinion polls show that some three-quarters of voters do not want France to pull out of the eurozone.