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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April, 2003, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Le Pen daughter stirs up party
Marine le Pen
Experts say Ms Le Pen could boost the party's image
French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has controversially named his daughter as one of the five vice-presidents of his National Front (FN) party.

Marine Le Pen, a 34-year-old lawyer seen as a moderniser in the party, will also hold a seat on the FN's powerful executive committee.

Correspondents say the appointment, on the last day of the party's 12th national congress in the southern city of Nice, is an attempt to curb the influence of the party's number two, Bruno Gollnisch.

Mr Gollnisch, 53, is thought to be positioning himself to take over Mr Le Pen's job with the help of the party's older generation.

Jean-Marie Le Pen and Bruno Gollnisch
Gollnisch (r) is said to be after Le Pen's job
However, the veteran party leader was re-elected for a three year term on Saturday and has said he will stand in the French presidential elections in 2007.

Mr Le Pen surprised many with his first-round performance in elections exactly a year ago, beating Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin into third place.

He then lost by a wide margin to incumbent President Jacques Chirac in the run-off.

'Normalisation'

Ms Le Pen, who leads FN youth movement Le Pen Generations, has made clear her determination to broaden the party's appeal to younger people and women.

"[The election of] 21 April was like a switch," she said in a recent interview. "It made people see that we can be a party of government..."

"The job now is to normalise the party. It had to be the way it was - but now it's matured."

Experts say Ms Le Pen could boost the image of the FN, which has lost ground in the last year failing to win a single seat in parliamentary elections in June.

However, Mr Gollnisch's supporters tightened their hold on the party's central committee, voting Ms Le Pen down to 34th place on the committee, from 10th position three years ago.




SEE ALSO:
Le Pen: More shocks to come
09 Oct 02  |  Europe
Profile: Jean-Marie Le Pen
05 Apr 02  |  Europe
Le Pen's electoral dreams
06 Jun 02  |  Europe
Le Pen and his feminine side
28 May 02  |  Europe
Le Pen parliament ban lifted
26 Jan 01  |  Europe
Le Pen out of euro-parliament
24 Oct 00  |  Europe



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