Front National: Le Pen rival steps down
Just days after the defeat of Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections, her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen has announced that she is quitting politics for the time being. The 27-year-old is considered to be on the extreme wing of the far-right Front National and has regularly clashed with her aunt in the past. What does her withdrawal mean for the party?
The young talent will be missed
It will be difficult for the Front National to replace Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who is popular above all in southern France, historian Nicolas Lebourg comments in Slate:
“The success of politics à la Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is above all due to its right-wing liberal, identity-oriented, populist and conservative character. References to Christianity have a binding force, while keeping them in the background avoids the risk of destabilising [the Front National]. Above all since - even if in politics charisma is less a personal quality than a construction - this course owes much to the exceptional talent of the young member of the National Assembly. If the FN now tries to imitate Marion Maréchal in her absence, it will soon find itself in a strategic impasse.”
Incompetence scares away voters
Marine Le Pen scared off voters and deprived her party of competent members with her botched campaign, Le Figaro comments:
“Marine Le Pen's catastrophic performance in the televised debate led to fewer Fillon supporters voting for the FN, discouraged swing voters and even frightened off some of the party's own supporters. ... Militant supporters - no matter what party they belong to - are always willing to forgive a defeat provided they believe their leader was worthy of the disinterested efforts they themselves made for their ideal. Is this the case with FN supporters today? In any event the lack of qualified leaders from which the party has always suffered can only worsen after the traumatic debate. What good, they will think, will it do to jeopardize their friendships, relationships, their careers even, to be represented in the decisive moment by a candidate whose conduct leaves much to be desired and who can't live up to her own ambitions?”