Meet The Third Generation Le Pen

In a busy marketplace in Provence, a fresh-faced and smiling young woman is handing out election tracts, posing for photographs and signing autographs.

She looks and sounds familiar: blonde hair, blue eyes, talk of French values and family honour. Her full name is Marion Marechal Le Pen, but today she is introducing herself as plain Marion Le Pen.

This is the 22-year-old law student who has just become the third generation of France’s far-Right dynasty to take to the hustings. As niece to the feisty Marine Le Pen, president of the Front National, and granddaughter of the party’s founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, she has Right-wing politics in her DNA.

This weekend she is campaigning hard in Carpentras, a small provincial town near Avignon in the south of France, in an attempt to become the youngest MP to sit in the Assemblee Nationale, and one of the first Front National MPs elected for more than 24 years.

And she has every chance of success. The seat she is contesting in parliamentary elections this month is quite winnable, experts believe, along with several others across France as the Front National enjoys a popular resurgence. Her aunt is riding the crest of what she calls the “Marine Blue” wave: the Front National president’s anti-Europe, anti-immigration and patriotic France-first manifesto saw her elevated to third place in last month’s presidential election with nearly 18 per cent of the vote in the first round.

Billing herself as “the voice of the people, the spirit of France”, Marine Le Pen hopes her party will profit from disarray among the mainstream Right and become the main opposition to the new government of Francois Hollande, the Socialist president.

Since Mr Sarkozy’s defeat last month, his own UMP party has descended into damaging internecine squabbling as party grandees jostle to lead the party and run for president in 2017.

France’s complex election system is unlikely to give the Front National more than 10 seats in parliament, according to the opinion polls, but Marine Le Pen hopes to amass enough votes to give her unprecedented bargaining power as “arbiter” between the traditional parties of the Left and Right.

Not that long ago pundits were predicting the Front National, originally constructed around the personality cult of Jean-Marie Le Pen, would vanish when its figurehead became too old. Instead, his daughter Marine emerged to bring about its renaissance, or as she prefers to call it, its “de-demonisation”.

The even younger figure of Marion Le Pen is a powerful symbol of that transformation and of the continuation of the party. But she rejects suggestions that family and party members are pulling her strings to gain publicity and political capital. “They are proud of me, but they didn’t push me,” she says.

Marion Le Pen also insists that she was not brought up ready-formatted as a Front National (FN) politician.

“Contrary to what everyone thinks in my family we didn’t talk about politics at home and we’re free to make our own choices,” she says. “I became interested in politics around 15 or 16 and in various approaches, not necessarily FN.”

As a teenager she once went to a meeting addressed by Nicolas Sarkozy “out of curiosity” because he “intrigued” her. “I very quickly came down to earth,” she adds, laughing. After campaigning for the Front National she became a card-carrying member at 18, and a regional election candidate shortly afterwards. Now she has her sights on parliament.

On the day we meet she is juggling. She has just sat an English exam at the Paris university where she is in the fourth year of a master’s degree in public law, and is dashing into a radio interview.

She is furious that a television crew has gatecrashed the interview, but she does not show it during the broadcast. To the thorny question of why she is standing in Carpentras, a town critics say she had never set foot in before, she says she is there to avenge her grandfather’s name.

In 1990, Front National supporters were accused of desecrating a Jewish cemetery in the town, which Mr Le Pen always denied.

“It is symbolic to come back to this constituency where he was unfairly accused,” she tells listeners. “I didn’t suffer at the time, but I suffered the consequences of my grandfather’s name being abjectly and unfairly sullied and demonised.”

Marine Le Pen won almost 29 per cent of the votes in Carpentras, only just behind Mr Sarkozy, in the presidential election, putting her niece in a potentially strong position now that the UMP party has imploded.

Marion is the daughter of Yann Le Pen, 47, the second of Mr Le Pen’s three daughters. Marine, 42, is the youngest. Yann was considered the rebel of the family, running away one month before her baccalaureate exam to work in a Club Med resort, until her older sister Marie-Caroline, 51, was banished after supporting one of her father’s political rivals.

All three Le Pen daughters were bullied at school with taunts that “papa” was a “fascist”. In 1976 a bomb exploded outside the family’s Paris apartment as they slept, ripping a hole in the wall.

Eleven years later, their mother Pierrette walked out, publicly bad-mouthed Mr Le Pen and posed half-naked for Playboy magazine.

In a letter to the judge deciding on custody, Marine Le Pen she said she wished to stay with her father. Later she wrote in her memoirs: “One is born Le Pen’s daughter, one dies Le Pen’s daughter. He is the man of my life. He has made me the woman I am.”

Both Marine and Yann Le Pen are now themselves divorced from Front National party officials, and live in the mansion house estate at St Cloud on the outskirts of Paris that Mr Le Pen inherited from a wealthy friend.

Pierrette, now readmitted to the fold, lives in a small cottage in the grounds. Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is approaching his 84th birthday, lives nearby with his second wife, Jany.

Now this closeness has extended from the personal domain into the political sphere.

On Friday evening, Marion was in the front row at her aunt’s main campaign rally as she called for voters to make the Front National “the real opposition” in France.

Today (Sunday), she will attend another meeting in Provence with her elderly grandfather: holding out the hope to party supporters that another generation of the Front National is secure.

reproduced via –

One Response to “Meet The Third Generation Le Pen”
  1. BuggStories says:

    French Front National looks more and more like a sort of monarchy party.. Different generation.. Same shit!

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