France’s National Front Faces Split in 2017 Parliamentary Vote

France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen said he will field candidates in parliamentary elections next year, effectively splitting the party he founded.

“For the legislatives, I’ll be present,” the 88 year-old politician said in an interview with LCI television. “I’m calling out to all those who think, as I do, that the National Front line isn’t what it used to be.”

The creation of a party under the banner “Comite Jeanne,” a reference to Joan of Arc, creates a headache for Marine Le Pen, who has softened the National Front’s rhetoric in order to widen its appeal since taking over the party from her father in 2011. A split would limit the Front’s ability to win seats in the National Assembly in voting in June 2017, roughly a month after France elects a president for the coming five years.

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