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Marine Le Pen Proposes New Name for National Front

The National Front has struggled to remain visible in the French political landscape since the defeat of Ms. Le Pen by the centrist Emmanuel Macron in last year’s presidential election. The party also fared poorly in the legislative elections that followed.

“It must become clear to all that we have become a party intent on governing,” Ms. Le Pen said. “More than a project, this name must be a rallying cry, a call to join us.”

Ms. Le Pen has pursued a so-called “un-demonization” strategy since she was chosen in 2011 to lead the party, which was founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 1972. Ms. Le Pen, who on Sunday was re-elected for a third term as the party’s president — she was the only candidate — has tried to move past the party’s racist and anti-Semitic roots.

Mr. Le Pen, who was kicked out of the party by his daughter in 2015, recently called a name change “suicidal.” He did not attend the party congress, where a vote of party members stripped him of an honorary title he still held.

Still, Ms. Le Pen made clear that a new name would in no way change the party’s anti-immigration, anti-European Union and anti-globalization platform. In her speech, she railed against the “submersion” of immigrants and against “globalism and Islamism, two ideologies that want to dominate the world.”

“This is our home,” the crowd chanted after she said “legal and illegal immigration are no longer tenable.”

Although the National Front members gathered in Lille cheered and clapped at the announcement of a new name, it is still unclear how the rank-and-file around the country will vote on it. In an earlier vote on changing the name, only a narrow majority of party members, 52 percent, approved the idea.

Source: NYT > World

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