The leader of the French National Front (FN) Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the party’s founder Jean Le Pen, has been in a war of words with her father over the ideology and direction of the party and Jean’s influence on it. Earlier this month Jean , who was the FN’s honorary president, was suspended from the party by Marine.
Jean-Marie continues to be one of the most prominent political figures in France and his populist, patriotic appeals have contributed to the campaigning success of the FN.
Marine Le Pen, once in charge of the party, rebranded the party as a moderate right-wing Nationalist party distancing the parties’ image from her father’s ultra-nationalist stance. Jean-Marie has a long history of racism accusations.
Marie expressed disgust for her father recently saying "I had a knot in my stomach every time I heard that Jean-Marie Le Pen was giving an interview."
With the momentum NF gained in the 1986 elections by attaining ten percent of the vote, the establishment started taking them seriously.
FN’s rhetoric and analysis lost power after the success of Socialist parties and Jacques Chirac’s Socialist leaning party in the 2007 and 2010 elections.
In 2011, Marine, Jean Marie’s youngest daughter was elected leader of the party.
She set the party’s initial course on ‘detoxification’, eliminating the xenophobic insignia associated with the party in order to broaden its appeal.
Jean- Marie is unhappy with party’s new course, for him removing the toxicity of the party is removing its lifeblood.
"If you stop being the devil, if you 'detoxify', then you become the right wing of the centre right". "There is no longer a raison d'etre for the FN," Jean Marie commented.
Marie le Pen’s rebranding and ‘detoxification’ has been a success, with popular support within her party and around France. She could possibly be the next President of France.
Last month Marie Le Pen was amongst Time magazine’s top 100 people list.