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Morocco - France: What will change if "Le Rassemblement National (RN)" wins the French legislative elections?

Morocco - France: What will change if "Le Rassemblement National (RN)" wins the French legislative elections?

The possibility of the National Rally (Le Rassemblement National) winning the upcoming legislative elections in France could significantly reshape many aspects of the relationship between Paris and the Maghreb countries. However, while Rabat remains calm, as such a scenario could potentially accelerate France's final recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, the regime in Algeria is trembling. This is because the French right, across all its factions, refuses to succumb to the grievances and blackmail tactics of the Algerian regime using the memory issue.

A real earthquake shook France on Sunday, June 9. The National Rally, a far-right political entity that had previously been marginalized within France's complex political landscape, emerged as the biggest winner in the European elections. This was a clear victory for Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella's party, which garnered 31% of the votes. Immediately after, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly and the organization of early legislative elections, with the first round scheduled for the 30th of this month and the second round on July 7. Here again, the far-right party has a strong chance of winning, even though it faces a left-wing coalition that has formed a "popular front" to stop its advance. This would be unprecedented in France during the Fifth Republic. Emmanuel Macron, playing his last cards, would have to cohabit for three long years with a prospective Prime Minister: Jordan Bardella, in anticipation of the 2027 presidential elections for which the National Rally is preparing. Although nothing is decided yet.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Jordan Bardella tempered his ambitions by clarifying that he would only agree to become Prime Minister if the National Rally secured an absolute majority in the National Assembly in the legislative elections, meaning 289 out of 557 seats. He stated, "I need an absolute majority. If we are in a relative majority situation as has been the case since Emmanuel Macron's re-election in 2022, the Prime Minister cannot act freely. I will not sell the French measures or decisions that I cannot implement." This new stance shakes up many dynamics, as the National Rally felt that Macron's trap had closed. Accepting power with a relative majority would hinder their ability to govern and thus jeopardize Marine Le Pen's chances in the 2027 presidential elections.

The question now arises: what does the potential victory of the National Rally in the legislative elections mean for Morocco? The immediate impact would be on the momentum of "reconciliation" achieved in recent months between Rabat and Paris. Current French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal is scheduled to make an official visit to Morocco from July 3 to 5. This visit was supposed to mark a new phase in the improvement of relations between the two countries after two years of diplomatic cooling. It would follow several other visits to Morocco by French political officials and ministers, which were seen primarily as a prelude to Emmanuel Macron's anticipated state visit to the Kingdom. However, this dynamic will not be subject to reconsideration.

While the rise of the National Rally to power in France, a party that prioritizes combating immigration, might raise many concerns, a calm analysis reveals other expectations. One thing is certain: unlike the Algerian regime, Morocco enjoys diplomatic favor with the French right, including the far-right. Evidence of this is that on October 23, Marine Le Pen, head of the National Rally group in the dissolved National Assembly, publicly criticized President Macron over the crisis he caused with the Kingdom.

In a speech delivered in the French Parliament, the former presidential candidate declared her stance, stating, "The president no longer speaks with Morocco and has fallen into a sterile Algerian alliance." Thus, it can be said that between Algeria and Rabat, the National Rally has made its position clear, which it declared openly during the presentation of its Maghreb policy for "our dear Morocco."



It is also worth noting that, along with 17 members of the European Parliament from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, the 13 members of the European Parliament from the National Rally were among the few who voted against a non-binding, but anti-Morocco, resolution concerning freedom of the press. This resolution was approved on January 19, 2023, by a majority of 356 votes, including those from President Macron's "Renew" group.

Thierry Mariani, the European Parliament member from the National Rally, who serves as its spokesperson and is a potential candidate for the position of Foreign Minister if the party wins the legislative elections, did not hesitate to denounce this maneuver.


Since then, much has changed, and President Macron has shifted his stance toward Morocco. However, Le Pen has never hidden her admiration for the Moroccan model. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Rally leader praised Morocco's response on French Channel 2, saying, "We cannot have a Prime Minister who is pleased that our national production of masks is 8 million per week, a very small number, while Morocco produces 5 million per day!"

Mohamed Boudan, President of the Atlas Center for the Analysis of Political and Institutional Indicators, predicted, "We should expect a long-awaited clarification from France regarding its position on the Sahara, a clarification that breaks with the 'at the same time' approach that has long prevailed within the current executive branch."

Thierry Mariani has always called for an immediate solution to the issue of recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. He has also consistently warned about the threat posed by the Polisario Front and its sponsor Algeria to peace in the region.



Among Marine Le Pen's supporters is also Éric Ciotti, the president of the Republicans party, who has previously called from Rabat for a rebalancing of relations between France and the countries of the Greater Maghreb, and for France to recognize Moroccan "sovereignty" over Western Sahara.


Renowned academic and president of the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe in France, Emmanuel Dupuy, is convinced of this matter. He clarified, saying, "Even if French recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara falls within the constitutional prerogatives of the President of the Republic, his cohabitation with a government committed to the Moroccan cause could accelerate the process that has already begun, especially with France's recent announcement of support for investments in the southern regions."



The train has indeed started moving, but the speed at which it progresses remains to be seen. France has come to realize, as Mohamed Boudn puts it, "that aligning with Algeria was not only unsuccessful, but it proved to lead to opposite outcomes concerning Morocco, a country that diversified its partnerships and alliances with many major powers, notably the United States."

Conversely, France's relations with Algeria could undergo a significant shift, benefiting from Macron's administration bias thus far. However, with the National Rally assuming responsibility, the situation is set to change drastically. This is evidenced by the genuine "fear" gripping Algerian leaders, prominently featured in their media. "France is in shock," remarked the "Everything about Algeria" website, overlooking that the shock is more pronounced in the El Mouradia Palace and the headquarters of the Algerian military.

"Close to the Makhzen and a fierce enemy of Algeria at the head of the Foreign Ministry?" wonders "Algerian Patriot," the propaganda mouthpiece of the generals responsible for crimes during the Black Decade. They threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Paris if Thierry Mariani were appointed head of French diplomacy.

The Algerian regime fears the worst and is apprehensive about the future of relations between the two countries. During the 2022 presidential election campaign, Marine Le Pen could not have been clearer on this issue, promising a policy of "complete reversal" from what has been done in recent decades concerning Algeria.

While Algeria boasts of its trade reaching 12 billion euros in 2023 with France, using it as an argument in the context of "gas for food," the French administration under the National Rally's leadership plans to turn everything upside down. Le Pen herself stated during the same election campaign, "We do not rely economically on Algeria or its gas, and it is in Algeria's interest above all for relations with France to be healthy and calm."


"A firm language"

Goodbye to blackmail in the name of memory, and welcome to firm language! In January 2023, Jordan Bardella, the French Prime Minister in the event of a major victory for the National Rally, defined his stance, saying, "Algeria only listens and understands strength in the diplomatic field. We must make Algeria respect us."

There are expectations of reducing visas for Algerian citizens in particular. At the same time, Bardella stipulated that visas would be issued and funds transferred with Algeria's reception of its citizens residing illegally on French territory.


After joining the National Rally, Marion Maréchal took a similar stance on this issue in July 2023. She said, "France is not a nursery for Algeria," pointing out that "42% of Algerians have no activity in France and they represent the largest foreign community in prison. It is time to put an end to the preferential French-Algerian immigration system."

It appears that the 1968 French-Algerian agreement on immigration, which the French right and far-right demand be canceled, will indeed be canceled if the National Rally or even the De Gaulleist right comes to power.

The National Rally rejects any "repentance." The "Everything About Algeria" site was right when it said, "If all these 'promises' are fulfilled, in the event of the far-right coming to power, we will have to wonder what will remain of the Franco-Algerian relations."

Original article is from Le360

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