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Marine Le Pen in bid to head France's National Front

13 April 10 11:52 GMT

The daughter of French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has said she hopes to take over the party he founded.

Her comments came after Mr Le Pen confirmed he would stand down as leader of the National Front and not run in a presidential vote in 2012.

The party is due to hold a leadership election in January 2011.

Ms Le Pen, 41, is a member of the European parliament and regional councillor. Her father, now 81, formed the National Front in 1971.

He produced a shock result in the 2002 presidential elections when he came second in the first round, knocking centre-left candidate Lionel Jospin out of the contest. He lost in a run-off with Jacques Chirac.

The party's electoral success then declined, before the National Front made something of a comeback in regional elections last month, scoring just under 12% in the first round.

Ms Le Pen told French TV channel France 2 on Tuesday that she wanted to make the National Front a "big popular party that addresses itself not only to the electorate on the right but to all the French".

Bruno Gollnisch, a 60-year-old long-standing ally of Mr Le Pen, is also expected to run in January's leadership contest.

Ms Le Pen confirmed that if elected, she would stand in the 2012 presidential elections.

Her father, a former paratrooper who fought in Indochina and Algeria, gained notoriety for calling the gas chambers in which Jews and others were massacred during World War Two "a detail of history".

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