Paris: Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, wants to rename the party after her failed bid for President last year, the media reported on Monday.
Le Pen made the announcement during her keynote speech on Sunday at the party’s congress in the northern French town of Lille, reports CNN. She proposed that the party be renamed “Le Rassemblement National” or “National Rally”, in an attempt to broaden its appeal. Party members will vote to approve the name change by postal ballot in the coming weeks.
The National Front also voted to re-elect Le Pen as its leader and to sever all ties with her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded it in 1972. Le Pen took over from her father as head of the party in 2011, in an attempt to cleanse its racist and anti-Semitic image.
Ironically, the new name she has proposed is similar to the name of a fascist political party called “Le Rassemblement National Populaire”, or “National Popular Rally,” which existed between 1941 and 1944 and was one of the main components of the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis, CNN reported.
Le Pen shares her father’s core anti-immigration beliefs, which were central to her platform during the election last year. As a candidate, Le Pen looked to slashing legal immigration from 200,000 to 10,000 “entries” per year in France and wanted to see immigrants’ access to public services limited.
Le Pen believes that only her particular brand of political isolationism and economic nationalism can protect France from what she calls “Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism” and politically correct liberalism.