He ended up taking the leap. “I have decided to fully commit myself alongside Éric Zemmour in the presidential campaign because I deeply believe in his candidacy, his project and his strategy”, says this Wednesday evening in Le Figaro Nicholas Bay. The RN had suspended the MEP from office on Tuesday, pushing him to leave, when he planned to join the rival of Marine Le Pen, accusing him of “sabotage” for transmitting “strategic elements” to Eric Zemmour, which the interested party denies.
Asked Wednesday evening in “C à vous” on France 5 about this possible rallying, Eric Zemmour had said that he would welcome him “open arms”. The far-right candidate must also make a trip to Normandy on Saturday, Nicolas Bay’s chosen land where he is a regional councilor.
Three other MEPs – Jérôme Rivière, Gilbert Collard and Maxette Pirbakas – have already joined the candidate Reconquête!, followed on Sunday by the only senator RN Stéphane Ravier, as well as by several regional advisers.
Nicolas Bay, member until Tuesday of the national office (direction) of the movement, estimates in Le Figaro that “These last few years (at the RN) have been punctuated by sidelining and often organized breaks”.
He notably cited the niece of Marine Le Pen, Marion Maréchal, who had left the party in May 2017, just after the presidential election, and to whom he is ideologically close, holding a more identity-based, more conservative and more liberal line on the economic plan than Marine le Pen. “This reflects an operating problem: the refusal of any form of internal debate […] impermeability to the slightest questioning, and, ultimately, witchcraft trials and erected stakes”, develops the elected conservative. The former frontist would also see his friend join him with Eric Zemmour. “I will be very happy that Marion Maréchal one day returns to lead the fight, perhaps by our side (sic)”, he explained on BFM Thursday morning. The former polemicist would have nothing against the idea of appointing Marine Le Pen’s niece to Matignon as he implied on Wednesday in SHE.
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“This mode of operation sterilizes political action, neutralizes energies, hinders our chances of victory and is a foil for potential partners or allies”, he asserts, as many criticisms which had arisen within the movement after the failure of the RN in the regional elections in June 2021. The former secretary general of the party (2014-2017) and former vice-president (2017-2018 ) also reports that “the device has broken down” with “just over 20,000 members” and “twice as many elected officials as before”.
Nicolas Bay had judged “rude” the accusation of sabotage, explaining that he did not participate “at no instance of the campaign management”. Just before being relieved of his duties, he had demanded a “explanation” of the party on the recent departures. “These accusations are extremely serious, false and totally defamatory”, repeated the person concerned on BFM Thursday morning. Bay has also filed a complaint for this, for defamation. “It is not because we have disagreements that we are obliged to smear”he continued.
Before this announcement, Marine Le Pen had judged on LCI that Nicolas Bay “could no longer” stay by his side, “from the moment when people behave badly, when they are disloyal”.
The separation had been brewing for weeks. While the MEP accompanied the candidate to Madrid at the end of January, he refused to say if he would still be by his side in the first round, angering Marine Le Pen. That “those who want to leave (from the RN) leave, but they leave now”, she had launched.
His relations with Marine Le Pen have deteriorated since the failure of the 2017 presidential election, after which he tried to embody the succession of Marion Maréchal.
Without naming him, Marine Le Pen had on Tuesday “asked those operating the slug strategy to please expedite their departures […] because the slug is slow but also sticky”. Laurent Jacobelli, spokesman for his campaign, was delighted Wednesday morning that the “rotten fruit fall” of the RN.
Update : at 9:34 a.m., with statements by Nicolas Bay on BFMTV this Thursday morning.