France's Le Pen calls for orderly debate after FN's lukewarm election showing

France's Le Pen calls for orderly debate after FN's lukewarm election showing
  1. France's Le Pen calls for orderly debate after FN's lukewarm election showing
    PARIS (Reuters) - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called for an orderly debate on Monday as her National Front party launched an inquest into a disappointing election performance and a policy review which could lead to it softening its hostility to the…

PARIS (Reuters) - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called for an orderly debate on Monday as her National Front party launched an inquest into a disappointing election performance and a policy review which could lead to it softening its hostility to the euro.

A little over a month ago, the anti-immigration, anti-euro Natonal Front (FN) was dreaming of Le Pen winning the presidency and demanding a renegotiation of European Union treaties. But Le Pen was comfortably beaten by now-President Emmanuel Macron.

Her defeat prompted a public row between senior party officials, and more barbs were traded after Sunday's parliamentary election which saw the party fall short of the 15 lawmakers required to form a parliamentary group, though it did quadruple its MP count to eight.

Le Pen told reporters in her Henin-Beaumont stronghold that the phase of "overhauling" the FN had started.

"I want this debate to be polite and friendly ... I will demand that this be the case," Le Pen said.

She expressed irritation at bickering among party officials, much of which focused on her close aide and deputy Florian Philippot, architect of her anti-euro economic policy that gives state intervention a big role.

"It was neither the time nor the place to do so, on social media networks, and therefore publicly, right in the middle of parliamentary elections," she said.

The task for Le Pen is whether she can transform her party's growing popularity into more votes and real power. France's two-round voting system in both presidential and parliamentary elections has traditionally impeded the FN, which seeks a more proportional system of voting.


Central to the party debate will be whether it sticks with its policy of calling for an end to use of the euro currency and a return to the French franc.

Polls show that most French oppose a switch away from the euro currency and Le Pen herself hinted she might soften her anti-euro stance, saying: "We need to ask ourselves what went well and what did not."

The party will also be looking at whether it continues to follow a strategy of calling itself "neither Right nor Left" with both right-wing anti-immigration policies and left-wing protectionist policies.

Some party officials want to see the FN seek allies with other hard-right parties to try and break its political isolation.

The findings of the party debate, including a meeting of top officials in late July, will go to party members in a much-broader party congress, expected to take place at the end of this year or the beginning of next.

Philippot, seen by some within…

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