France's Marine Le Pen says National Front to be overhauled after election defeat

SPH Brightcove Video
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen conceded defeat Sunday to Emmanuel Macron while calling on patriots to join in a political fight. VIDEO: REUTERS
Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, exits a polling booth in the second round of 2017 French presidential election on May 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Sunday (May 7) her National Front party would be completely overhauled after centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated her in France's presidential election.

The anti-EU, anti-immigration Le Pen said that the election has pitted "patriots" against "globalists" after candidates from the traditionally dominant socialist and conservative parties were eliminated in an April 23 first round vote.

Addressing supporters shortly after initial projections showed she lost, Le Pen said that voters would face the same choice in legislative elections next month, in which she said she intended to lead her party.

"The National Front ... must deeply renew itself in order to rise to the historic opportunity and meet the French people's expectations," Le Pen said in a brief address to supporters shortly after initial projections were released.

"I will propose to start this deep transformation of our movement in order to make a new political force," she added.

Despite Le Pen's success in making it to the second round of the presidential election, the National Front (FN) has struggled to make deeper inroads beyond the northern rust belt and southern regions, where concerns about immigration run high.

Le Pen's father Jean-Marie, the former party leader, said on Sunday his daughter Marine's campaign for the French presidency had been undermined by its proposals to quit the euro and the European Union.

"I think we must speak to France about the real problems, demographic problems, problems of mass immigration," he told RTL radio. Le Pen senior was expelled from the party in 2015.

The party's deputy head Florian Philippot said the new party would not be called the National Front.

National Front rising star Marion Marechal-Le Pen, Marine Le Pen's niece, said that the party had lessons to learn from the presidential election and its message on the euro had been misunderstood.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.