PARIS – France’s much further party won a historic victory in legislative elections on Sunday, to double its number of legislators and confirming the party’s rise from fringe to mainstream opposition status.
Since taking over the party in 2011, Marine Le Pen has worked to clear the National Front – now known as the National Rally (RN) – of the anti-Semitic image it earned under her father, ex-paratrooper Jean-Marie Le Pen’s nearly 40-year leadership.
Le Pen had already tapped into the widespread discontent with President Emmanuel Macron, pinpointing outrage across the country over growing living costs and the demise of many rural towns, when she won 42 percent of the vote in April’s presidential election.
She took it a step farther on Sunday. According to projections, Le Pen’s party will win 85-90 seats, up from two in 2012 and eight in 2017, putting it in a position to become parliament’s second-largest party. Only 25-50 seats were predicted by major pollsters last week.
“We have fulfilled our 3 aims: making Emmanuel Macron a minority president with no power, and continuing the legislative recomposition necessary for democratic renewal,” Le Pen told reporters after being re-elected in northern France and vowing to be a polite opposition.