Marine Le Pen says to rename far-right party

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 12, 2018
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French far-right leader Marine Le Pen [File photo]

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday said she wanted to change the name of the National Front Party (FN) to the "National Rally" in a bid to give a new start to the anti-immigrant party which she said must be opened to alliances to be "a ruling party".

"At a time when France is experiencing a political re-composition, (the new name) must, and this is perhaps the most important, express a desire to gather," Le Pen said.

"The name must be more than a project -- it must be a rallying cry, a call to join us, to all those who have France at heart," she added.

The 49-year-old eurosceptic leader argued that the National Front party her father created on 1972 had been "for many French people a psychological obstacle", associated with anti-Semitism and homophobia image.

Le Pen brought anti-establishment FN party into the country's political mainstream during France's presidential election last year.

She lost the race against the centrist and pro-market Emmanuel Macron with 33.9 percent of the vote, or more than 11 million voters who cast ballots for her. This record score mirrored a growing public support for the anti-immigrant party.

However, her disappointing TV debate before the presidential race on May 2017 and lower-than-expected elected lawmakers offset the far-rightists' stunning record.

At the party's congress in Lille, north France, Le Pen told the gathering that FN, mired in internal rifts, was recovered and gained a foothold despite the ceiling glass that had dashed far-rightists' hope to snatch the first place in the race to Elysee Palace.

Relying on her project to renew the FN, she told the party cardholders "our goal is clear: power".

"We were originally a protest party. There should be no doubt now that we can be a ruling party," she added, reiterating her stance against immigration and globalization.

According to the party's figures, 52 percent of its members supported their leader's proposal to change the party's name. They are called to vote on the new name by post. The result would be unveiled next month.

In 2011, Le Pen succeeded his father Jean-Marie Le Pen to head the National Front party. She has been working to softening the party's image by targeting widespread support of young public and workers.

At this week's congress, unopposed, she was reelected to lead the party.

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