Marine Le Pen, President of France’s Front National has emerged victorious from the second round of voting in her northern French constituency of Pas-de-Calais, exit polls are indicating this evening.
Beating President Emmanuel Macron’s candidate, Anne Roquet, Le Pen will have succeeded in her personal gamble of winning a parliamentary seat following defeat in the French presidential race, an outcome which had raised questions about her leadership of the nationalist movement founded by her father, Jean Marie Le Pen.
Le Pen, will enter the Assemblée nationale for the first time during the next parliament, and promises to be a thorn in the side for newly elected President Macron and his allies. Having fallen short of the number of seats needed to form a parliamentary group, however, she will lack the clout of a parliamentary grouping.
Conversely, the mere presence of nationalist Le Pen in the Assemblée nationale will represent an upturning of the apple cart, the political establishment long having conspired to keep her from office.
Reportedly exhausted after a grueling presidential race, Le Pen last month announced that she would stand in the 11th district of the Pas-de-Calais constituency, despite electoral defeat in two previous legislative elections there in 2007 and 2012.
‘’I could not imagine not being at the head of my troops in a battle that I consider as fundamental’’, the 48-year-old mother of three had declared several days after being defeated by Macron in the country’s presidential election.
120 Front National candidates had made it through last Sunday’s first round of voting, of 577 standing, compared to 447 for Emmanuel Macron’s party. Speaking moments ago, Le Pen confirmed that at least five Front National deputies had been elected, with several more still in the running. Partner Louis Aliot has been elected. Party vice-president, Florian Phillippot failed to win a seat.
”Faced with a block which represents the interests of the oligarchy, we are the only resistance”, Le Pen declared in her victory speech, adding that she and her newly elected deputies would act as megaphones ”for the millions of French attached to their history and the grandeur of their national identity.”
France’s two-round voting system, designed to prevent outsider parties from taking power, ensures that few Front National candidates succeed in defeating the combined votes of their rivals, many of whom make electoral pacts specifically to keep the Front National from power.
Le Pen and her deputies will be a welcome voice for French patriots in an Assemblée nationale dominated by the party of ultra-liberal president, Emmanuel Macron.
Failure to win the seat would likely have spelled the start of the end of Le Pen’s political career. Instead, she will be celebrating tonight at a reception in Hénin-Beaumont, the northern French town where she took a massive 68% of the vote.
Early next year, her party will hold a convention to decide on which direction to take to the movement. Expected to return to its nationalist roots and quietly drop talk of quitting the single European currency, a re-brand and name change are also on the cards.