Building a local powerbase ? : The Rassemblement National in the 2020 municipal elections in France
Rassemblement national, party’s organisational capacity, municipal governance, socioeconomic factors
The 2020 municipal elections represent a further stage in the institutionalisation of the Rassemblement national at the level of local governance, and at the same time underline the limits to the party’s organisational capacity. Within a context of significant political and socio-economic upheaval, the party’s capacity to consolidate its 2014 victories, and build upon these through local mobilisation of political networks and exploitation of traditional opposition weaknesses, was limited to its existing strongholds in the North-East and South of the country. In particular, these successes were helped through the distancing of the local notables from national party labelling, and indicated the strength of pragmatic municipal governance in convincing voters to endorse candidates distancing themselves from the RN’s extremist profile. Yet, only where a complex interplay of local socioeconomic factors, candidate profile and opposition weakness obtained could the party secure a limited number of victories.