The fallout from the French presidential elections continued today as Marion Marechal-Le Pen, niece of defeated candidate Marine Le Pen, and one of the National Front’s two parliamentarians, announced her resignation from politics. In a letter published by Le Dauphiné Libéré, a Grenoble-based newspaper, the 27-year-old lawmaker said that she will not stand for re-election in June citing a desire to spend more time with her daughter as the main reason for her decision. She also said that she wants to pursue a career in business. “I love the world of business, I always spoke in favour of it during my term and that is where I now aspire to work,” she said in the letter. “The idea I have of a good political leader requires me to benefit from experiences other than those of electoral or political success,” she continued, adding that she is not definitively renouncing the “political fight”.
As one of only two National Front members of parliament and the presumptive heir to the leadership of the party following in the footsteps of her aunt and current leader Marine, and her grandfather and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, her resignation will come as a serious blow to the far-right National Front. It will also underscore the split in the party between the centrist leaning elements headed by Marine and the more traditionalist, Catholic branch represented by Marion, who is known to be closer to her grandfather – a convicted antisemite.
The worse than expected result for Marine Le Pen against the political novice Emmanuel Macron, winning only 33.9 percent of the vote when she was predicted to receive around 40 percent has raised questions as to what the future direction of the party will be.
The centre left of French politics is also undergoing a realignment as it was announced today that Francois Hollande’s former prime minister Manuel Valls intends to leave the Socialist Party and run as a parliamentary candidate for Macron’s newly rebranded Republique En Marche! party. Macron’s team, eager to keep their cards close to their chest, and perhaps wary of forming a government that looks too much like that of the unpopular outgoing Socialist one, have offered a noncommittal response, saying Valls’ application will be reviewed.
Meanwhile, Benoit Hamon, who defeated Valls to secure the Socialist Party nomination for the presidency but only went on to win 6.4 percent of the vote, has announced that he will launch a new left-wing movement in July.