Destinations Magazine

French Politics: Dédiabolisation

By Stizzard
French politics: Dédiabolisation Marine Le Pen is different from her old man

HE HAS the clean-cut look and neatly pressed suit that suggest a management consultant. But Laurent Lopez is a candidate of the new generation for Marine Le Pen’s remodelled National Front (FN). On October 6th, at a by-election in the southern town of Brignoles, Mr Lopez came out top in the first round, crushing his rivals with just over 40%, twice as much as the centre-right UMP party. To the left’s consternation, the Socialist-backed candidate was eliminated altogether.Mr Lopez may not win the second-round vote on October 13th. But he has rattled both left and right with a warning that the FN could become the chief beneficiary of discontent with François Hollande’s Socialist presidency and dismay at the bickering within the UMP. Mr Lopez’s candidacy also marks, in his words, a fresh effort by Ms Le Pen to “clean up” the FN and drag it out of the political shadows.Since 2011, when she was elected president of the party founded by her father, Jean-Marie, Ms Le Pen has tried to shed the FN’s image as a movement of aging bigots, anti-Semites and young skinheads. She has recruited a swathe of…

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