A “finishing school” for future far-right leaders is opening in France

“This is not a political project.”
“This is not a political project.”
Image: Reuters/Emmanuel Foudrot
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Marion Maréchal, niece of the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, is opening what she calls a “finishing school” for future leaders of the political right.

The Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences, which will be open to postgraduate students in September this year (link in French), has the aim of “finding and training the leaders of tomorrow,” says Marechal.

Maréchal, who recently dropped the “Le Pen” part of her double-barreled surname, left party politics after her aunt lost to Emmanuel Macron in the last French presidential election. She said at a press conference that “this is not a political project, this school is not affiliated to any political party, nor will it be the lapdog of any political party.”

She insisted that the idea behind the school in Lyon was to “propose an alternative” to the “formation of the elites.” The school’s co-president Patrick Louis told local news site Lyonmag.com (link in French), “what interests us is adversarial debate. We’re not going to teach mainstream ideological conformism.”

The school’s supervisory board members include a range of professors from Russia, the US, and France. The school’s board includes Raheem Kassam, the firebrand former editor-in-chief of Breitbart News London. Kassam also ran to be UKIP leader. However, three days after the official launch of his campaign, he dropped out of the race.