Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: the new wonder-girl of France’s far-right

File photo: Far right National Front party regional leader, Marion Marechal Le Pen, delivers a speech during a campaign meeting, in Toulon, southern France Photo: AP


The niece of Marine Le Pen won her first election at the age of 22 and trounced a former prime minister, Alain Juppe, in a televised debate

She is the new girl wonder of the French far right, a glamorous 25-year-old poised to break down many mainstream conservatives’ qualms about casting their vote for the Front National.

Since she was elected the youngest MP in French parliamentary history, aged 22 three years ago, while a second year Sorbonne law student, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of Front President Marine and grand-daughter of its obstreperous founder Jean-Marie, has had the fastest learning curve in French politics since Bonaparte’s.

On Sunday, buoyed by the shock of the Nov 13 Islamic shootings in Paris, the list she heads is widely expected to come in first in the Provence-Côte d’Azur region, with polls giving her some 40 per cent of the vote. Even if the third-ranking Socialists drop out of the race to favour her Gaullist opponent in next Sunday’s runoff, Marion, as she’s known, has the most chances to swing into office, giving the Front National a shot at ruling one of France’s most dynamic regions, and the second most populous after Paris.

Her aunt may well lead a Front victory in the North, a depressed region with high unemployment, little prospects for development, and bleak cities like Roubaix and Tourcoing, the French answers to Bradford in terms of a tense ethnic mix. The last authorised polls before Sunday’s vote even gave a lead to the FN in six out of 13 French regions, although this is not expected to translate into many actual victories.

But these “Régionales” will mark the Day of Marion, a new-style, new-look, formidably effective politician, who day after day during this campaign has been making her mark on national television.

In debate, she is cool and literate, a far cry from her aunt, “who is a much better public speaker than me”, she says. But her style is often better suited to television than Marine’s rabble-rousing oratory, learnt from her father’s Fourth Republic style. It enables her to make carefully-calibrated points on immigration, Islam, French identity, throwing it back to the anointed Kings of the Middle Ages and “the age of Cathedrals”.

The mother of a one-year-old little girl, with a businessman husband who gave up on politics after one try in the 2012 general election in which he won a mere seven votes in a working-class district of Paris, Marion ticks many boxes neither Marine nor Jean-Marie Le Pen can fill.

Full article: Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: the new wonder-girl of France’s far-right (The Telegraph)

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