Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of Front National leader Marine, has been ranked as one of the most influential MPs in the French Parliament.
A study by communications agency Rumeur Publique says the Front National MP has one of the strongest presences on social media, thanks to her regularly-updated Facebook page, making her as prominent as senior politicians in the establishment parties.
The group studied 572 of the 577 members of the National Assembly, the directly-elected lower house of the French Parliament, and ranked them under the categories “pillars of Congress”, “media stars” and those who “influence the public”.
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen and Gilbert Collard, the only two Front National MPs in the National Assembly, both rank as the most effective politicians on Facebook, using the social network as an opportunity to by-pass traditional media and speak directly the electorate.
François Fillon, presidential candidate for the establishment conservatives, was ranked as the most effective MP in the traditional media, however the fieldwork was carried out before the “Penelope-gate” scandal broke, severely denting his popularity and poll ratings.
The youthful Marion Maréchal-Le Pen has become one of the most prominent politicians in the anti-establishment Front National and is one of the most visible faces in her aunt’s campaign for the French presidency.
However, she often takes a more conservative line on social issues than Marine Le Pen, fiercely opposing abortion and supporting France’s Christian heritage and culture.
Her aunt, by contrast, is in favour of keeping France’s current abortion laws and focuses more on secular values than Christian ones when opposing the spread of extreme Islam.
In the run-up to Christmas, Marion backed a campaign to allow town halls to install nativity scenes, calling them a “symbol of culture and identity”.
Some public buildings had fallen foul of France’s strict laws on secularism when they installed the scenes, but Marion insisted it was “common sense” to allow them.