France's Right-Wing Party Changes Name, Image
France’s far right political party has voted to change its name.
Since 1972, the National Front has been an active anti-immigration, conservative, nationalist party. The same party will now be called the National Rally.
Party leader Marine Le Pen, whose family has headed the party since its founding, said the new name is designed to appeal to new voters ahead of the European election schedule to be held next year.
“The election can lead to a veritable European revolution,” said Le Pen meeting with her party officials during a meeting in Lyon. “The name change is a historic moment in the life of our movement.”
Member of the sometimes controversial party voted by mailing in ballots. It is reported that 53 percent of the party’s membership voted and of those who voted, 81 percent approved of the name change.
With a new right-wing nationalist government in Italy recently sworn in, Le Pen is hoping the trend will continue to make the European Union “look like a sinking ship.”
Le Pen ran unsuccessfully against the current President Emmanuel Macron in 2017. The party was seen as too inflexible in its political doctrine to secure the votes of moderate French voters.
The party had gained some political success by winning twelve mayoral elections in some large French cities. In 2014 European Parliament elections, the National Front secured 24 of France’s 74 seats.
With the name change, many analysts suspect the party also hopes to change its stigma as being racist and anti-Jewish. Le Pen father and the party founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen had been a firebrand in French politics and noted for his sometimes racist and anti-Jewish remarks.
It is reported that Le Pen, now 89, was against his daughter’s decision to rename the organization he founded in 1972.
“Nothing good can come of the shameful erasing of the party’s identiy,” tweeted the elder Le Pen last week.
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