Who is Marion Maréchal-Le Pen?
Marion Jeanne Caroline Maréchal-Le Pen is a French politician who served as an MP for Vaucluse's 3rd constituency from 2012 to 2017. A granddaughter of Front National (FN) party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, and niece of presidential contender Marine Le Pen, she became a member of FN at the age of 22—France's youngest MP in modern political history—and quickly became the face of FN. Marechal-Le Pen, a hard-line politician seen more as a political firebrand than her aunt, had made efforts to attract a broader range of voters with focus on social policies. Marechal-Le Pen clashed with her aunt Le Pen on issues like the euro, abortion rights, and economic protectionism. Le Pen had also stated that if she had won the presidential elections, she would not have given Marechal-Le Pen a position in her government, as she was "too young." Marechal-Le Pen was considered to be a leader of the traditionalist and Catholic party faction. She defended the French culture—their Christian roots, Latin roots and Greek roots. She was extremely popular in the country's southeast, and among the young voters. Stephen K. Bannon, US President Trump's chief strategist, had described her a “rising star.” Although she was seen as a future leader of the FN, she quit politics in May 2017, and refused to renew her mandate as a deputy or a regional councilor of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. She also expressed her desire to gain experience in business.
Childhood & Early Life
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was born on December 10, 1989 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, to Yann Le Pen (mother) and Samuel Maréchal (father). However, there is a controversy if Samuel is her biological father. According to ‘L'Express,’ a French magazine, her biological father was Roger Auque, a journalist, who died in 2014.
She belongs to a family of politicians and had a privileged upbringing. In 1972, her maternal grandfather, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had founded the Front National party. Her father was the leader of Front National Youth movement (FNJ) from 1992-1999. Her aunt Marine Le Pen has been FN president since January 2011.
She became interested in politics when she was 15, and when she was 18, she became an FN member.
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In the 2008 municipal elections, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was the seventh candidate on the FN list. However, she was not elected as the FN list received only 6.29% votes. In the 2010 regional elections, she was in the second position on the FN list, yet she was not elected as the list did not achieve 10% votes.
She was doing masters in public business law from Panthéon-Assas University, but she gave up her studies to join politics full-time in 2012.
On April 25, 2012, her parliamentary candidacy in Vaucluse's 3rd constituency was confirmed. Her constituency includes the southern part of Carpentras. On June 17, 2012, she defeated the incumbent MP Jean-Michel Ferrand in the run-off, thus becoming the youngest citizen to enter the French Parliament, at the age of 22. She is the only FN member to serve in National Assembly since 1997.
In July, she became a member of FN's executive board, and made her first public speech. She was also one of the six youngest MPs of the assembly, and served as a secretary during the opening of the 14th legislature presided over by senior MP François Scellier.
She appeared as a fellow candidate on a municipal list at Sorgues, north of Avignon, in her constituency. She was in the tenth position on the list. In the first round of 2012 presidential elections, she polled 37.65%, and 44.36% in the run-off of the next legislative elections.
On December 7, 2012, she introduced a constitutional private member's bill regarding the appointment of the members of Constitutional Council of France. She cosigned four private member's bills, including one forbidding marriage between same-sex persons.
In April 2015, after her grandfather was expelled from FN for his remarks on the Holocaust, she was chosen by her party to be the leading FN candidate in southeastern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in the regional elections.
In the first round, she won 40.55% votes, and became an FN candidate to lead a region. In the second round of voting, she lost. However, she received the best result for an FN candidate.
In May 2017, after her aunt was defeated in presidential election, Marechal-Le Pen said she was quitting politics for "personal and political reasons". She said she was giving up politics for her three-year-old daughter.
She refused to defend herself as the FN MP in the National Assembly. She also said she might make a comeback. However, her grandfather denounced her decision to quit politics as she represents thousands of FN supporters.
Personal Life & Legacy
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen sued ‘L'Express’ for a "serious invasion of her privacy" when the magazine claimed that there was some dispute regarding the identity of her biological father. She won the case in April 2015.
She married Matthieu Decosse, a businessman and head of a hospitality company, on July 29, 2014. She first met him when he had stood for an election, but was unsuccessful. Their daughter Olympe was born in September 2014. However, they divorced in 2016.
On being questioned about her stance against homosexuals adopting babies, she said that she fought for children’s right to have a mother and a father because her biological father had abandoned her. So she knows what it is to lack a “normal” family.