Le Pen temporarily resigned as the President of France’s euro-skeptic, anti-establishment Front National party during the Presidential election run-off campaign, in order to appeal to a broader voter base.
Le Pen resumed the party presidency on Monday, according to FN official Steeve Briois, who announced it in a Twitter post.
Post-election turmoil in FN
After her election defeat to pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron, Le Pen announced that FN will undergo a profound transformation. However, the days following her election defeat to Macron were not easy for her and FN.
Marine’s niece, Marion Merechal-Le Pen, temporarily withdrew from politics. Marion, a 27 year-old young and charismatic granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, family patriarch and the founder of FN, was regarded as being more ‘hard-line’ than Marine on many issues.
More importantly, the election result was rather disappointing for the party, despite the fact that Marine Le Pen won nearly 11 million votes in the run-off – best result for FN in its history. In particular, the party’s position on Euro caused a serious debate among its members.
During the campaign, Le Pen advocated that France should leave the Eurozone and bring back its own currency – the Franc, but this was not popular with the voters. Only a day after Marine’s election defeat, a fierce debate erupted among party members regarding the policy of quitting the Euro.
Jean-Marie Le Pen himself told RTL radio that his daughter’s euro stance was largely to blame for her defeat.
Several of key FN party officials opposed the change of FN’s policy on the Euro, including Le Pen’s most important ally and party vice-president, Florian Philippot, who said that he would quit the party if it abandoned its Euro strategy.
FN’s post election difficulties come before the important legislative election in June, that will determine the composition of France’s National Assembly for the next five years. FN is expected to win additional seats.
Whether Le Pen will manage to further re-brand FN’s image and bring it into the mainstream, will likely determine the party’s future.