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In Paris, a son remembers a father lost to far-right violence (Interview)
Extract of Nonna Mayer's interview: Rebranding the National Front: But Nonna Mayer, the director emeritus of research for France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), warns that France's political landscape has shifted dramatically since Bouarram's murder. The first time the National Front advanced to the second round of voting, in 2002, more than a million people flooded the streets in protest. The second time, in 2017, the backlash was much more muted. Mayer credits this, in part, to a culture shift within the National Front. Jean-Marie Le Pen is no longer in charge. Its new leader - his daughter, Marine Le Pen - has taken steps to rebrand the party, notably renaming it Rassemblement National and distancing herself from her father's legacy of open provocation. Mayer says the National Front no longer tolerates blatant anti-Semitism, but it continues to push an anti-immigrant agenda, claiming it to be in the name of public safety and economic security. "She turned over the argument and said, 'We are not intolerant. Those who are a danger for the republic, it's the Muslims,'" Mayer explains. "That makes a far more respectable crusade for the party. They present themselves as the barrier against Islamic fundamentalism, but sometimes it slips to just Islam." But it's not just the National Front that is growing stronger. The mainstream political alliances that once served as a bulwark against its expansion are growing weaker. "There is still the memory of Brahim Bouarram," says Mayer. "But for some people, it's disconnected from the new National Front. And for others, they still think the National Front is a danger - the majority of French people do - but they don't believe enough in [current president Emmanuel] Macron as the shield."