When we hear the name Le Pen in relation to French politics it’s most often a reference to Marine Le Pen, the losing candidate in the recent presidential elections. But this is something of a family business and the latest headline has to do with her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen. She was the youngest woman elected to the legislature since the French Revolution and has been widely viewed as more of a rival to her aunt than a teammate because of her distinctly more socially conservative views. Her time in the political spotlight is over now, however, at least for a while. She just announced that she will not seek reelection this summer and will be retiring from politics to spend more time with her young child and the rest of her family. (NBC News)
The feisty and fresh-faced niece of French presidential runner-up Marine Le Pen has quit politics amid simmering campaign disagreements over the direction of their family’s far-right party.
Marion Marechal-Le Pen, 27, is one of only two National Front (FN) lawmakers. Her decision to not stand for re-election in June’s parliamentary elections exposes increasing divisions within the party founded by her grandfather, Jean-Marie Le Pen.
The charismatic Marechal-Le Pen — who was prominent during her aunt’s bid to lead France — said her decision was “gut-wrenching” but added she wanted to spend more time with her three-year-old daughter and gain experience in the world of business.
This is yet another sign that the National Front (basically the closest thing the French have to an actual conservative party) is in disarray following the lopsided loss they experienced in the last election. There’s been significant infighting going on over what the party’s platform should look like and whether or not they’ve hit some sort of ceiling in terms of how much support they can muster in that country. Getting roughly 1/3 of the vote was impressive given their past track record, but it’s still far, far short of a majority.
Part of that comes down to the essentially socialist nature of most of the French population. Marechal-Le Pen managed to win a seat in the Parliament from a small, rural district, but she’s still considered to be too far to the right to be a successful mainstream candidate on a national level. As we discussed here recently, her more famous aunt really isn’t a conservative in a way that most American voters would recognize. In fact, it’s only her stance on immigration policy and combating terrorism which puts her on the conservative side of the political ledger at all.
By contrast, her niece actually embraces a number of more conventional conservative positions. Marechal-Le Pen is pro-life, opposed the adoption of the Euro and proposed lower taxes along with more “protectionist” policies designed to promote job growth and economic development inside of France. That put her at odds with Marine Le Pen to the point where the latter had said there would be no place for her in the national government if she won the presidency.
All in all, it seems that very little has changed. Emmanuel Macron is just going to bring more socialism and open borders to the French. At the same time, the National Front is busy setting up a circular firing squad and some of their most high profile leaders are bailing out. So much for a wave of change sweeping through Europe I suppose. Now we just have to wait to see how things turn out in Germany. If Angela Merkel and her party recover and hold on to power there, the wave may be stopped entirely.