Niece of France's Le Pen quits politics for now

The niece of defeated far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen announced Tuesday, May 9 that she's leaving political life, at least temporarily, citing "personal and political reasons".

Less than 48 hours after her aunt lost her bid to become president, Marechal-Le Pen, a 27-year-old lawmaker, said Tuesday she's retiring from political life "for an experience in civilian life", according to a letter she sent to Vaucluse Matin-Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper. She added that she had told her aunt, who understood, respecting the choice because she - that is, Marine - knows how hard political life can be.

"I think it's in the works, but I will let her announce it if she wants to", he said. The National Front leader also said that the French political landscape is "split" between the "patriots" and the "globalists" and called on all French "patriots" to join her new political movement.

She hailed the historic result, saying it meant that she represents the country's "biggest opposition force".

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Ms Marechal-Le Pen, whose mother Yann Le Pen is Marine Le Pen's sister, is a popular figure among the party faithful including some who hope she will eventually take over from her aunt.

During the presidential election campaign, 48-year-old Marine Le Pen had tried to extend her party's appeal to a wider base and had stepped down as party leader.

Marion Marechal-Le Pen had been seen as a rising star of the nationalist and anti-immigration National Front party. In 2015, Maréchal-Le Pen told the Guardian, "I'm here for the long term".

It is expected that the final count will show she more than doubled the number of votes her father Jean-Marie Le Pen picked up in the second round of the 2002 election.

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Speaking to Le Figaro, he called his granddaughter's move "a desertion".

"This will create a huge disappointment".

"This raises a lot of questions on how the party will evolve", said Joel Gombin, a specialist of the FN at the Jean Jaures research institute.

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