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Marine Le Pen struggles with family split as niece defends defection 'Have no regrets'

WorldMarine Le Pen struggles with family split as niece defends defection 'Have no regrets'

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has had many of her former allies defect from her National Rally party to support Eric Zemmour’s own bid for the presidency during the election campaign. The most significant one was her own niece Marion Maréchal, an influential voice in the French far-right, who told French newspaper Le Figaro that she is leaning closer to political newcomer Zemmour’s “consistency, vision, and strategy.” Ms Maréchal repeated on French broadcaster RMC the motives for her leaving Ms Le Pen and joining Eric Zemmour.

She said: “No, I have no regrets because once again it was a choice of conviction and consistency.”

When Marine Le Pen heard rumours of her niece leaving her party in early March, she said: “Personally, it saddens me, and politically, it plunges me into abysmal confusion, because I’m the only one who can win against Emmanuel Macron.”

Marion Maréchal admitted her relationship with Marine Le Pen is now complicated because of her decision to leave the party.

She nonetheless called on voters to back her for the second round.

When pressed on why she didn’t call her aunt to form a coalition, Ms Maréchal dodged the question, saying she is  “not the only one” in Zemmour’s Reconquest party and if needed, she would gladly do so: “I have no genetic obligation to the National Rally.”

Ms Maréchal continued: “I see a young movement with a future that has laid solid foundations.”

“I want to contribute in the coming years to the ideological compass of the right, which has been terribly lacking for some years”, she added, hinting at the National Rally’s party.

“I want it (the Reconquest party) to be the incubator of the whole new political generation. To train, identify promising young executives and launch them into political life.”

On her proposal to form a coalition with right-wing parties, she said: “I also want it (the Reconquest party) to be a bridge between the parties.”

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“There is work to be done, I’m not saying otherwise. But what I mean is that there are foundations to build on and, above all, I also want it to be a bridge between different structures, between different electorates”, Ms Maréchal concluded.

Marine Le Pen said neither Marion Maréchal nor Eric Zemmour will be part of her government if she wins the election.

After five years outside French politics, Ms Maréchal made her position clear in a tweet on Wednesday, saying: “After supporting @ZemmourEric in the presidential election, I decided to join the @Reconquete2022 movement and get fully involved.

“I am therefore pleased to announce my appointment as Executive Vice-President.”

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