French Politics: The Le Pen Family War In A Political Party

In the USA, you have tv shows where family members fight each other. In France, we have the same fight… but in political parties.

The National Front (FN) was created in 1972, and its first leader was Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen graduated from “SciencePo Paris,” a political science college in Paris. The peak of his political career was in 2002, when he became one of the two finalists for the presidential election. He did not become president due to many scandals about his statements, which resulted in victory for Jacques Chirac that year.

Jean-Marie Le Pen. Photo credit: Harounaaron.

Since 2011, he has left the post of leader of FN to his daughter Marine Le Pen, a graduate of University Paris II. On January 16, 2011, she was elected leader of the National Front. The war was started, and the main explosion inside the party occurred when Marine kicked her father out of the National Front on April 8th, 2015. Her father was expressing xenophobic, homophobic, and racist views, and she did not want that image for the FN. He said things like, “Immigration? My Lord Ebola will solve this.” He also has been accused of anti-Semitic statements and beliefs, saying, “the Holocaust is a detail of our history. I don’t say that it never existed, but I’ve never seen it.

The key moment of the Jean-Marie Le Pen exclusion was when he gave an interview to an extremely conservative newspaper, Rivarol. Jean-Marie had been the main guest of their 65th anniversary banquet. The second main guest of the event was Robert Faurisson. His speech at this banquet was about denying the Holocaust: “Concentration camp? Those camps had volleyball and soccer fields, they were vacation camps!” It’s perhaps easy to see why Marine Le Pen kicked her own father Jean-Marie out of their political party, after statements and associations such as these.

Marine Le Pen Photo credit:Remi Noyon om flickr

Marine Le Pen. Photo credit: Remi Noyon on flickr.

Even though Jean-Marie Le Pen is out of the FN, he still speaks as a member, which his daughter Marine fully denounces. She has tried to wash her party of all those stereotypes about racism. She defines her politics as helping the French first, and then foreigners. The goal of Jean-Marie Le Pen was to cause scandals and encourage people to speak of him, but the goal of Marine’s FN is to win elections and control France.

A niece of Marine’s, Marion-Marechal Le Pen, governor of the Riviera region, is also in the fight. Her politics look more like her grandfather’s ideas than her aunt’s. Her goal is to eliminate Marine and to take her place if Marine’s presidential campaign in 2017 is a disaster. When Marine Le Pen speaks of something, Marion-Marechal will contradict her aunt in the media. She tries to show that her campaign is really not the spirit of the FN at all.

Marion-Marechal Le Pen. Photo credit: Remi JDN.

Although there is confusion regarding the ideals of the party, Marine Le Pen is one of the two favorite candidates for our French presidential election in May 2017. Her campaign is built on the question of immigration. Her program is to stop illegal immigration, reduce the authorization of immigrants entering France, deport all immigrants who don’t work for more than one year, and deport those who have problems with the justice system (instead of keeping them in jail). 

Immigration in France has become more of a pressing problem in recent years, and we still do not know how to solve this problem. For the moment, everyone can enter in France, but some French people don’t want that anymore. That’s why they want something else, something that changes.

Another member of the FN party is Robert Menard. He is the mayor of Béziers. Due to the Middle Eastern population present in France, there are plenty of kebab shops. The kebab is a typical dish of Turkey. Menard has forbidden them in the downtown Béziers because he thinks that it is a city with a Christian culture and history, and the kebab shops stuck out in a downtown full of Christian history. Paris-based executive Baptiste Fluzin created a group on Facebook to organize an International Kebab festival in Béziers. More than 40,000 people signed up for it in less than one week. What was first a joke became a real idea, and this movement was possibly the best answer to Menard’s “incomprehensible” ideas.

About the author

Baptiste is from France but he's not sure because he hates cheese.