Bardella to replace Marine Le Pen as president of France's far-right party RN

France's far-right Rassemblement National elected Jordan Bardella as its new president, overwhelmingly backing the 27-year-old European Parliament member to succeed Marine Le Pen in the post.

 Jordan Bardella, newly-elected President of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN) party, holds the hand of Marine Le Pen, member of parliament and member of the French far-right National Rally party, after the results during the National Rally party's Congress in Paris.  (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)
Jordan Bardella, newly-elected President of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN) party, holds the hand of Marine Le Pen, member of parliament and member of the French far-right National Rally party, after the results during the National Rally party's Congress in Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)

France's far-right Rassemblement National (RN) elected Jordan Bardella as its new president on Saturday, overwhelmingly backing the 27-year-old European Parliament member to succeed Marine Le Pen in the post.

Bardella, a party loyalist who had already been interim president for a year, won nearly 85% of party members' votes, against 15% for his challenger Louis Aliot, who is Le Pen's former partner.

It is the first time the party will be led by someone who is not a member of the Le Pen family.

Le Pen, who has diluted some of the party's anti-immigrant, eurosceptic policies, stepped down from RN's leadership structure in 2021 ahead of her unsuccessful bid for the presidency in this year's election, which was won by incumbent Emmanuel Macron.

"I am not leaving RN to take a holiday. I will be there where the country needs me," Le Pen told Saturday's party convention. She is widely expected to make another presidential bid in 2027.

"I am not leaving RN to take a holiday. I will be there where the country needs me."

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen, French far-right National Rally ccompanied by RN party acting president Jordan Bardella and RN party member David Rachline in Paris, France, April 25, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)Marine Le Pen, French far-right National Rally ccompanied by RN party acting president Jordan Bardella and RN party member David Rachline in Paris, France, April 25, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

Bardella, who hails from a tough working-class neighborhood, has said he will continue her efforts to attract voters beyond the party's far-right core.

Bardella told Reuters last week that the fact that someone from outside the Le Pen family could chair the RN represented a "small cultural revolution."

The former National Front party was founded in 1972 by Marine's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Who is Jordan Bardella?

Bardella has become one of Le Pen's most recognized lieutenants in French media. His quick wit and brutal soundbites have made him a formidable opponent for Macron's ministers and lawmakers on TV shows.

A boxing enthusiast raised in a social housing block in the outskirts of Paris, Bardella has risen quickly through the party ranks. In 2019, he led its campaign for European elections, when it took the top spot just ahead of Macron's centrist party.

Bardella takes over after the French parliament on Friday cut the pay of a far-right lawmaker and temporarily banned him from the chamber for shouting "Go back to Africa!" as a Black legislator was speaking during a parliamentary session.