'National Rally': Le Pen proposes new party name for National Front

'National Rally': Le Pen proposes new party name for National Front

  • 11 March 2018
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Le Pen wants to change how French voters see the party which was founded by her father

France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen has proposed changing her party's name to National Rally from National Front in a bid to improve its image.

She told members that the current name was a "psychological barrier" for voters.

The plan to change the party's name was approved by a slim majority and members will get to vote again on the proposal.

Ms Le Pen was defeated by President Emmanuel Macron in a run-off vote last year.

Since then the party has lost voters and Ms Le Pen has come under attack from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party in 1972.

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Mr Le Pen, 89, told Reuters last month that a name change would be political "suicide".

But Ms Le Pen hopes it will change attitudes to her party, which is associated by many voters with racism and anti-Semitism, and make it easier to form alliances with other parties.

She told members that the National Front name was associated with a "glorious and epic history" but also prevented the party from winning elections and gaining followers.

"For a lot of French people, even those who are sincere, it's a psychological barrier," she said.

"We were originally a protest party. There should be no doubt now that we can be a ruling party," she added.

Fifty-two percent of members backed changing the party name on Saturday, the party says. Members will now vote on the new name by post.