Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front has become, without any doubt, one of the most controversial politicians in the recent times. Her staunch defence of the French sovereignty against the globalizing pressures of the EU incarnated by bureaucrats such as Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker has made her one of the right’s rising stars. Her protagonism has augmented so much that even the ex Prime Minister Manuel Valls had to admit that Marine Le Pen could very well pass to the second round of Presidential voting and become the president of France, something that produces mass outrage in Brussels. One of the first things she said she was gonna do after taking office was to invoke a referendum to decide whether stay or stay not on the EU, which could mean a death sentence to the European Union itself, as the French-German axis would automatically blow up.
However the leader of the ultra right-wing hasn´t got all the cards on her side as there is an internal power struggle going on within the party that can harm her party’s prestige and message when the elections take place on April 2017.
The main characters of this game of thrones are Florian Philippot, one of the five vice-presidents of the National Front, and also one of the main advisers of Marine Le Pen, the other one is Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, deputy of the National Front on the General Assembly representing the district of Vaucluse. Marion is the youngest deputy in the French political history, aged 26 years old, and is also the granddaughter of Jean Marie Le Pean, and niece of Marine Le Pen.
The main difference among them is the nature of their speech, Philippot defends a state-nationalism, based upon economic protectionism, going out of the euro, protecting the French industrial network, moderating the tone on most of the subjects that have created the most polemic to the party such as homosexual marriage, and immigration.
On the contrary, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen stands in favour of an identitarian-nationalism, in other words, the defense of the christian roots of the French nation. She is a hardliner on the subjects of immigration, Islam and jihadi terrorism. After the events that took place in Cologne where muslim refugees were groping and assaulting young women and teenagers at the New Year’s Eve, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen decided to take a step forward and toughen the speech towards the welcoming of refugees and the menace that Islam represents for the western civilization.
Despite this fight, the National Front is still a good choice for the UMP if it wants to retake power in the Elysee Palace, according to a poll made by Harris Intercative, published by Marianne, indicated that 58% of the electors of the UMP would be for an Alliance with the UMP on the second tour. The same poll pointed out that 44% of the voters of the Nation Front would support an Alliance with the UMP. The important matter here lies within the fact of which line is going to prevail within the National Front, the state-nationalism or national-corporatism of Florian Philippot, or the identitarian-nationalism of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. At the same time, the forces of the two politicians in the party are pretty much equaled, with a 50-50 rate and a 2/3-1/3.
It could seem that this quarrell could affect the results of the NF, but it could also have a beneficial effect as having two candidates representing two different lines can also be complementary for the party, attracting a higher number of voters. The proposals of Philippot, bear some resemblance to the communist Jean Luc-Mélenchon but without the hardcore marxist-leninist component. And at the same time, the presence of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, considered by most as the true ideological heir of Jean Marie Le Pen, serves as an insurance policy for the traditional voters of the National Front.
However, an opinion study published by the Elabe Institute in March of 2016 came to show that the popularity of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was in fact really close to that of his aunt, Marine Le Pen with just a 4 point difference. A recent polemic has arised because of the posture defended by Marion Le Pen who was against the refund of the abortions, as a way to save funds and support maternity, that has made her clash against Marine Le Pen and Florian Philippot. Up to this day, Marine Le Pen is the second candidate with a 36% of rate approval who is seen as women to defend their Rights more convincingly.
The National Front could well become the leading political force, but not at the expense of sacrificing Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who has become the true MVP within the party.