French far-right politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen was still a blond babe-in-arms when she made her first appearance on a campaign poster with her grandfather, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Now, three years after becoming France’s youngest lawmaker, the 25-year-old former law student is gaining in the polls as one of party’s most credible members and the darling of a new generation of hard-liners who see France’s main problems as Brussels, Muslims and the mainstream parties.
“She’s going to be a star,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, her rival in this December’s race to head the governing council for the Provence and Cote d’Azur region, told Valeurs Actuelles magazine. If Marechal-Le Pen wins, it will give her “an incredible national launch-pad,” he said.
A poll last week by Odoxa for newspaper Le Parisien showed 40 percent of French people have a favorable opinion of Marechal-Le Pen, an increase of seven points over the last five months. And though 51 percent of those questioned described her as “racist,” 60 percent also said she was “courageous.”