Far-right leader of the National Front Marine Le Pen might have lost the race to become France’s head of state to Emmanuel Macron, but she’s already looking forward to her non-presidential future.
Here’s how she responded to her loss, and what’s likely to be coming up next for Le Pen.
In her concession speech, Le Pen credited herself with upsetting the French political landscape, creating a divide “between patriots and globalists”.
Le Pen expressed regret that the French people had voted for “continuity,” but she has her sights set firmly on the future – particularly in light of gains that Le Pen dubbed a “historic result” for the National Front.
Whilst the French public might not have fully embraced the National Front’s brand of populism, the election results still mark the party’s shift from a fringe force to a political heavyweight.
The party’s interim president (filling in whilst Le Pen campaigned) Steeve Briois said: “It’s opening the doors of the movement to other personalities.”
Le Pen wants to change the name of the party, in a bid to distance herself from the party’s anti-Semitic past and her hard-line father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. However, party stalwarts see a name change as a bit too radical a move, so it’s currently unclear whether it will go ahead.
Le Pen will be focusing on next month’s parliamentary elections. She will be working to secure seats for her party (which is looking like it will be an uphill battle), but it is currently unclear whether she will seek a seat herself.
Now Le Pen vows to go further with more changes to reach an even wider spectrum of voters, “those who choose France, defend its independence, its freedom, its prosperity, its security, its identity and its social model. I will be at the head of this combat,” she said.
“It’s not the end tonight. It’s the start,” said Jean Messiha, who coordinated Le Pen’s presidential project. Macron’s liberal project “belongs to the past”.
Le Pen set a new challenge for herself in the weeks ahead to undertake “a profound reformation” of the movement into “a new political force”.