Marine Le Pen, the political animal who dreamed of conquering the Élysée

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In recent years, Marine Le Pen has worked tirelessly to smooth out the rough edges of the National Rally in order to break through the glass ceiling that has already bogged her down on the doorstep of presidential election victory. Portrait of a candidate who dreamed of the Élysée.

Five years that Marine Le Pen broods over her revenge. The Rallye National candidate, qualified for the second round of the presidential election on April 24, does not want to lose this second leg against Emmanuel Macron. At 53, the former National Front boss has softened her speech. Also his picture. Away from sport shooting, which she devoted herself to in 2012, the “mother of cats” – as she likes to define herself today – constantly poses with her cats in the media and on her Twitter account with 2.6 million followers. An end to the hussar comments and the provocations of the past, the RN boss now makes sure with a good complexion that Islam is “compatible with the republic”. In the country of the RN version 2022 no more exit from the euro or the European Union. It must be said that the demonization begun in 2002 was facilitated by a providential Mephisto named Zemmour, who sacrificed nothing to his openness. The result is in: Marine Le Pen, who appears normal, has advanced by two points in the first round of the presidential election for five years. However, the blonde brushing has remained the same. Also his right-wing extremist program. Nothing really different from the past.


bruises for the soul

Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, as her real name is, was born on August 5, 1968 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. For this third and last daughter (after Marie-Caroline and Yann) of Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, politics flowed through her veins from an early age. In her 2006 autobiography Against the Waves, she also recounts that she “went full-on into politics” at the age of 8 when she escaped an attack on her Parisian family’s apartment, one of the “highlighting events of his childhood.” “. The young girl knows question tests like a beam: her parents’ rowdy divorce, her mother’s erotic photos published in Playboy magazine, the insults when she accompanies her 15-year-old father on his trips to the local election campaign in 1983. Not enough however, to keep her from politics When she comes of age, the daughter of the “Menhir” formalizes her entry into politics by joining her father’s National Front.

On June 10, 1987 in Paris, a reader of Playboy magazine, while leafing through the pages, discovers an interview accompanied by very nude photos of Pierrette Lalanne, ex-wife of Jean-Marie Le Pen, President of the Front National and candidate for President of the Republic.  .
On June 10, 1987 in Paris, a reader of Playboy magazine, while leafing through the pages, discovers an interview accompanied by very nude photos of Pierrette Lalanne, ex-wife of Jean-Marie Le Pen, President of the Front National and candidate for President of the Republic. . AFP PIERRE ANDRIEU

With a grade of 4 out of 20 in the philosophy exam for the Abitur B in the catch-up exam, Marine Le Pen is not one of those students who serve as a role model for teachers. The Paris II-Assas graduate student, described by everyone as a “die-hard party girl,” nevertheless earned a master’s degree in law in 1991 and then a DEA in criminal law. “The clone”, as her mother’s nickname refers to her resemblance to her father – the interested party specifies “hair” – above all inherited the taste for the platform. No wonder that the cheeky student, swearing on her lips, took up the profession of lawyer the following year, within the 23rd year of her lifeand Correctional Chamber of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris. Ironically, the very young lawyer who voluntarily campaigns for the permanence of the immediate appearance is brought in to defend illegal immigrants.

Photograph of 7 February 1992 of Marine Le Pen during the FN National Youth Congress.  The youngest daughter of FN leader Marine Le Pen is number 2 on the FN list for the northern regional elections.
Photograph of 7 February 1992 of Marine Le Pen during the FN National Youth Congress. The youngest daughter of FN leader Marine Le Pen is number 2 on the FN list for the northern regional elections. © Thomas Coex, AFP

“Who is she, this one?”

At the same time, the young woman, who is just 24 years old, is running for 16and Paris constituency. Without success. He had to wait until 1998 to get ballot recognition. Marine Le Pen was then elected regional councilor of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. On the private side, she encounters new turbulence. That same year, in less than eleven months, she gave birth to three children, including twins. And in the political apparatus, the split with Bruno Mégret is causing a stir. His “modernist” positions on abortion or even religion drew criticism from some leaders and the frontist constituency. Le Pen senior ignores the criticism of angry caciques, he believes in his daughter and excludes those who dare to complain. Two years later, she took over the helm of the Génération Le Pen association, which she renamed GénérationS Le Pen to initiate a major political marketing campaign. Goal: discourage current voters and attract new ones.

Until then in the shadow of her father, the frontist-elect began to conquer the light of day on May 5, 2002, on the evening of the second round, when her father was defeated against Jacques Chirac. After the resignation of a party executive, she appears on television for the first time. The service is noticed. She tickles and annoys her political opponents. “But who is that?” Jean-Luc Mélenchon chokes on the set of France 3 has the secret while part of the audience boos her.


family betrayal

The political beast keeps rising. She finds fertile ground on which to sow her ideas in northern France, partly undermined by unemployment and deindustrialisation. She was elected MEP in 2004 and 2009. In 2011 the XIVand At the National Front congress in Tours, historical leader Jean-Marie Le Pen passes the torch to his daughter, who largely won the internal vote against his rival Bruno Gollnisch. Freed from the internal party quarrels, she started the race for the Élysée for the first time in 2012 and collected 17.90 percent of the votes in the first ballot. In the same year she founded the Rassemblement bleu Marine, which formed a coalition of various far-right movements in the parliamentary elections. Jean-Marie Le Pen, initially politely held as honorary president and whose racist and revisionist outbursts undermine all efforts to de-demonize the Front National, was finally expelled from the apparatus by his own daughter in 2015. This time his polemical statements about the “detailed” gas chambers of World War II or his defense of Marshal Pétain come into question. At Le Pen, betrayal is also tasted in the family.

Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, her father's party was renamed the National Rally.
Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, her father’s party was renamed the National Rally. © Lionel Cironneau/AP

In 2017 she is again aiming for the presidency of the Republic with a free hand, but fails in the second ballot behind Emmanuel Macron (33.90% – 66.10%). She does not want to remain resolute in the face of this failure. She is running a third presidential campaign in 2022 in hopes of getting revenge on the incumbent president. But new turbulence shakes the party. First the defectors, admittedly few in number, who left the party with loss and noise to expand the ranks of candidate Éric Zemmour. Then it’s his own niece’s turn, Marion Maréchal, to disembark. Until the psychodrama Nicolas Bay, who is accused of having spied for the Reconquete! camp. Against all odds, Marine Le Pen, unsinkable, stood his ground and qualified for the second round of the presidential elections. If she managed to win the election after three tries, as François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac did, she would make history by becoming the first woman to be elected President of the Republic in France. It would also be the first time the extreme right would govern France under the Vand Republic.

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