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Le Pen’s niece reportedly joins far-right rival Zemmour

Marion Maréchal, an influential voice in the French far right and the niece of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, is reportedly joining her aunt’s nemesis Eric Zemmour to support his own bid for the country’s highest office.

The 32-year-old former MP took a slight step back from politics in 2017, and has long been rumored to consider the move. “Consistency, his vision and strategy mean that I lean toward Eric Zemmour,” she told Le Figaro back in January. “But there’s a family matter.”

The matter has been solved, it appears. According to Le Figaro, Maréchal is planning to get up on stage with Zemmour on Sunday, a month before the first round of France’s presidential election.

During her political hiatus, Marechal directed a small political science school she founded for “conservative” students, and has taken many steps to distance herself from her aunt. She notably cut “Le Pen” from her then-hyphenated family name in 2018.

The granddaughter of far-right patriarch Jean-Marie Le Pen is closer to the identitarian faction of the National Rally, which has had the biggest share of defections to the Zemmour camp. The former pundit, who has been twice convicted of hate speech, is obsessively running on a radical anti-immigration platform. Even if Marine Le Pen is still defending hard-line anti-immigration propositions, she has been attempting to distance herself from her party’s identitarian and xenophobic reputation.

“Personally, it saddens me, and politically, it plunges me into abysmal confusion, [because] I’m the only one who can win against Emmanuel Macron,” Le Pen said on Tuesday, as rumors about her niece’s move were growing.

Maréchal’s upcoming announcement could give Zemmour a boost while past outspoken admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin is coming back to haunt him. Since Russia has launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Zemmour has lost one percent in POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, moving down to 14 percent. Marine Le Pen has remained around 17 percent.

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