French anti-mass migration Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told media that her niece, young firebrand Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, would not be a part of her cabinet – and now French media are determined to drive a wedge between the two politicians.
In an interview with magazine Femme Actuelle on 27 March, the Front National leader was asked if her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who is popular with the conservative wing of the Front National, would have a role if she becomes the president of France.
Ms. Le Pen replied that she would not. Firstly because she did not want to be accused of nepotism as the pair are related, secondly because at 27 years old she felt Marion needed more experience, and lastly because she said Marion was a bit too “stiff” in her conservative views.
The French media seized on the comments with newspaper Le Parisien calling the different views of the politicians a “cold war“. The paper outlined the fact that Marion, who sits in the French parliament as a deputy of Vaucluse, has a much more hardline position on gay marriage praising “the traditional and natural family”, on a visit to Italy in March of last year.
Abortion has been another issue where Marion has said she would like to see people who get abortions performed pay back the money it costs for the procedure. When asked about this, Marine simply said it wasn’t part of her presidential programme. Marion railed against the banning of pro-life websites earlier this year and slammed self-described feminists in the French parliament who supported the move.
On Monday, French media tried again to drive a wedge between the pair after Marion had commented on ending special retirement schemes because they were “too expensive”. France Radio, whose headline read “Tensions in the National Front”, contacted the campaign of Marine about the issue, despite it not being one of her 144 policy proposals, and the campaign told them that only Marine herself set official policy for the campaign.
Marine addressed the issue herself on Sud Radio Tuesday by stating she and her niece have differences on some issues. “While she expresses her position, her conviction, she is not the president of the National Front,” Marine said adding: “I am president of the National Front.”
Despite their differences on a few issues, Marion has continued to campaign for her aunt’s presidential bid and looks to bring her traditionalist Catholic supporters to the polls in April.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at email@example.com