On Sunday (April 24), Emmanuel Macron became the first sitting French President to win a second term in two decades after a convincing win over far
On Sunday (April 24), Emmanuel Macron became the first sitting French President to win a second term in two decades after a convincing win over far-right rival Ms Le Pen. The Incumbent won by 58.55 percent to the National Rally leader’s 41.45 percent. Despite her loss, Ms Le Pen said her significant vote share marked a victory for her party.
In a defiant speech Ms Le Pen told supporters as she conceded defeat to Mr Macron: “The ideas we represent have reached new heights.”
The 53-year-old vowed to “keep up the fight” and lead her party in June’s parliamentary elections.
While Ms Le Pen recognised Sunday’s result as a victory of sorts, Mr Smith, who is a contemporary politics professor at the University of Chichester, branded the National Rally leader a “serial loser” who may be replaced.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Smith said: “Five years is a long time in politics and that far-right scene is a nest of vipers. She has real rivals in the movement.
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“I think it’s worth probably saying that Marine Le Pen is a serial loser in terms of these things now, in terms of elections.
“You could see why many people would look to replace her.”
One candidate tipped to oust her is Marion Marechal, Ms Le Pen’s 32-year-old niece, who was once a rising star in the National Rally party.
Ms Marechal quit politics five years ago, only to make a dramatic comeback in February by defecting to Ms Le Pen’s far-right rival Éric Zemmour.
“I think it’s also worth acknowledging that in terms of raw votes, more people didn’t vote than voted for Marine Le Pen in the second round of the election.
“The abstention rate was higher than her percentage of all registered voters, so it’s a useful tonic to [the percentage of votes the far-right garnered].”
Nevertheless National Rally has enjoyed enormous mainstream support since Ms Le Pen took over the party from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011.
Ms Le Pen garnered 13million votes on Sunday, all while pledging a ban on wearing the muslim headscarf in public and a referendum on immigration controls.
She also received support despite her past links to Putin.
Though the National Rally leader condemned Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, she has previously expressed admiration for the Russian President, and travelled to the Kremlin to meet him in 2017.
Meanwhile she was one of very few western political voices to back Putin’s annexation of Crimea while her party is continuing to pay off an outstanding debt to a Russian bank.
Mr Smith added: “It is a very high number that she returned and France does have something to reckon with in terms of the influence and prominence of the ideas of the far right.
“But, it’s important to stress that the republic, and the republican front held in the face of that challenge.”