Eric Zemmour, leader of the hard-right, dismissed newly elected MEP Marion Maréchal from the party while the French centre-right party Republicans expelled their President, Eric Ciotti. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON


Political revolt breaks out among French Right ahead of general election


Eric Zemmour, leader of the hard-right French party Reconquête, has dismissed newly elected MEP Marion Maréchal from the party while the centre-right Republicans have expelled their President, Eric Ciotti.

Both were ousted as chaos broke out across France ahead of the snap general election.

On June 12 Maréchal released a statement saying Zemmour had decided to present as many candidates as possible for a right-wing coalition proposed by National Rally (RN) de facto leader Marine Le Pen.

Maréchal baulked at the idea. “We reject the principle of divisive candidacies. We therefore call for support in all French constituencies for single candidates from right-wing coalitions,” she said.

Late on June 12, she posted on X that she had been dismissed from Reconquête.

That was despite party members except Sarah Knafo, Zemmour’s advisor and partner, having backed Maréchal, resulting in him firing four out of his five newly elected MEPs.

For his part, Zemmour accused Maréchal of “failing to win over the RN”.

“Barely 48 hours after being elected by 1.3 million Reconquête voters, she chose to sell out our party, to declare that it was no longer legitimate to carry her ideas, to attack us with slander,” he stated.

Late on June 12, he posted on X that he was still open to working with RN.

“I affirm that Reconquête and myself are ready to withdraw candidates in the event of an agreement with the RN, Les LR [The Republicans] and all other parties of goodwill wishing the defeat of [French Preident] Emmanuel Macron and the Islamo-leftists,” he said.

The right-wing Republicans are also fighting over a possible alliance with the RN.

On June 11, Ciotti announced it would join up with Le Pen’s party for the French election.

This decision sent shockwaves through the party, leading to immediate calls for his resignation from fellow Republicans. Ciotti stood his ground, claiming support from political activists and party insiders.

The party’s leadership on June 12 convened an emergency bureau meeting at the National Bureau in Paris to remove him.

“We have just unanimously approved the exclusion of Eric Ciotti from our political family. He is no longer part of the Republicans,” they stated afterwards.

Ciotti responded defiantly: “The meeting organised this afternoon was implemented in flagrant violation of our statutes.

“None of the decisions taken at this meeting have any legal consequences. It can have criminal consequences. I am and remain the president of our political party, elected by the members!” he added.

Legally, Ciotti appeared to be correct. According to party rules, the political bureau can only be convened by the French President or one-quarter of the Congress, which was not the case. Thus, the decision’s legitimacy remains questionable.

Guilhem Carayon, Vice President of the young Republicans, was one of few who publicly supported Ciotti.

“What differentiates us with the RN is nothing compared to what unites us,” Carayon said.

The French are going to the polls on June 30 and July 7.