Le Pen to run for French parliament

09:12 • 19.05.17



Emerging from her crushing defeat in France's presidential contest, Marine Le Pen said Thursday she will run for a parliamentary seat in June elections and that her National Front party has "an essential role" in a new political landscape.


Le Pen will run for a seat in a district in her northern stronghold of Henin-Beaumont, a hardscrabble former mining region where she lost a similar bid in 2012. A new failure could jinx her bid to unite the National Front and to make it France's leading opposition party.


"I cannot imagine not being at the head of my troops in a battle I consider fundamental," Le Pen said in an interview on the TF1 television station, her first public appearance since her May 7 loss to centrist Emmanuel Macron, France 24 reports.


Le Pen announced her candidacy while facing forces of division that could frustrate her new goals. Her popular niece is leaving politics, her disruptive father is back in the ring and her party is in disarray.

At the same time, Macron has upset the political equation, drawing from the left and right to win the presidency and to create his government. The new president now is looking across the political spectrum to obtain a parliamentary majority to support his agenda.


"We are in reality the only opposition movement," Le Pen said.


"We will have an essential role to play (and) a role in the recomposing of political life," she said, reiterating her contention that the left-right divide has been replaced by "globalists, Europeanists and nationalists" like herself.


Le Pen is counting on the 10.6 million votes she received as a presidential candidate to propel her anti-immigration party into parliament in the June 11 and June 18 elections.


The party also hopes to pick up votes from "electoral orphans" unsatisfied with Macron and feeling betrayed by the mainstream right, National Front Secretary-General Nicolas Bay said this week.


The National Front plans to field candidates for each of France's 577 electoral districts, hoping to block Macron's movement from obtaining a majority of seats and to secure a strong bloc of its own to counter his new government.


Le Pen dismissed the notion that there were links between her loss and a series of events widely seen as potentially weakening the National Front.


The party recently lost a rising star who served as a unifier on its conservative southern flank. One of the National Front's two current lawmakers — Le Pen's niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen — announced last week that she was leaving politics, at least temporarily.


Enter Jean-Marie Le Pen, who likened his granddaughter's exit from politics to a "desertion."

 





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