Jordan Bardella: his unflattering nickname and 1.5m Tik Tok fans

We look at five points about the 28-year-old president of far-right party Rassemblement national

Jordan Bardella, politician form French far-right party Rassemblement National, giving an interview
If the RN does well in the upcoming legislative elections, Mr Bardella may well be France’s next prime minister

Jordan Bardella, president of the Rassemblement national (RN), was the undisputed victor of Sunday’s European elections.

His party won the elections by a landslide, earning 31.4% of the popular vote, more than double the score of any other party.

Mr Bardella, 28, reacted by calling for president Emmanuel Macron to organise new parliamentary elections 

The president subsequently surprised almost everybody, as soon after he dissolved the National Assembly, calling for legislative elections (which elect MPs) to take place.

The first round of these will be on Sunday June 30, with the second round the following Sunday (July 7).

These were not initially meant to be held until 2027, around two months after the election of the president.

Read more: Far-right win French EU elections: how did your area of France vote?

The RN are forecast to win big, particularly after their performance in the European elections. 

If this happens – and the RN become the largest party in parliament – it would likely result in Mr Bardella being offered the position of prime minister.

If so, he would become the youngest – and first far-right – prime minister of the Fifth Republic.

Here are five facts about Mr Bardella, Marine Le Pen’s protégé and the new face of the French far-right.

1.5 million subscribers on TikTok 

Part of Mr Bardella’s electoral success is his popularity among younger generations, a demographic of voters highly sought out by the RN and other major parties. 

Almost a third (32%) of people aged from 18 to 24 years old who voted on Sunday chose the RN, with some now dubbing the group ‘Génération Bardella’.

He has one of the most developed and mature campaigns across social media and boasts 1.5 million subscribers on TikTok, the most popular social media amongst younger generation. 

This is far ahead of those in rival far-right party Reconquête !, whose standard bearers Eric Zemmour (352,000 subscribers) and Marion-Marechal Le Pen (170,000) lag far behind.He even has 500,000 more subscribers than Marine Le Pen.

Amongst politicians, only president Macron (4.5 million) and far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon (2.4 million) have more subscribers.

Grandson of Italian immigrants

Mr Bardella is the grandson of Severino Bertelli-Motta and Iolanda Benedetto, Italians born and raised in Nichelino, a district in Turin, northern Italy. 

They migrated to the Paris suburbs in 1963 with daughters Daniela and Luisa (Mr Bardella’s mother) reported French newspaper Le Monde after an investigative report on the family’s origins. Luisa herself was born in Turin, moving to France when she was one-year old.

Mr Bardella’s father, Olivier Bardella, was born in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), although he also has Italian and Franco-Algerian roots.

Surprisingly, the town where Mr Bardella grew up – Drancy – is a stronghold of the left, with the French Communist Party, Socialist Party, or La France Insoumise (a current left-wing party) winning the majority of parliamentary elections in the area during the time of the Fifth Republic.

Mr Bardella often talks about his mother, her Italian background and ‘low-paid work’ (although she was actually a civil servant helping to oversee nursery schools) as part of what appears to be a carefully scripted history of his childhood.

We will cover this more in the July edition of The Connexion.

First non-Le Pen elected at head of Rassemblement National

Mr Bardella is the first politician outside of the Le Pen family to have taken the presidency of the RN - although he has been in a long-term relationship with Nolwenn Olivier, the daughter of Ms Le Pen’s older sister, for a number of years.

He won 85% of the vote against Louis Alliot, Perpignan’s mayor and former partner of Marine Le Pen, in September 2021.

Read more: Macron orders dissolution of French parliament: reaction and what now?

‘Bard-est-pas-là’ nickname

Mr Bardella reportedly has the nickname ‘Bard-est-pas-là’ (‘Bard [ella] is not here’), which is pronounced similar to his surname.

It is a reference to his lack of presence and activity at the European parliament, where he has been a member since 2019.

He has a 70% absenteeism rate for votes, with a mere 76 amendments filed in five years when most members range in the thousands.

Never worked outside of politics and the family business

Mr Bardella graduated with an economics Baccalaureat with high marks from Jean-Baptiste de La Salle’s high school in Seine Saint-Denis, a department in the northern Parisian suburbs.He studied geography for several years at Sorbonne University but dropped out to join the RN.

His only known job outside of politics is a brief summer internship at his father’s company, a vending-machine management company, as reported by Le Monde.

Read more: June 9 EU elections: Priorities in France differ to rest of Europe