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Marine Le Pen elected leader of France's National Front party

Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, became the new leader of France's far-right National Front party Sunday.

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen, the newly elected president of France's far-right National Front party, delivers a speech during the party's congress, on January 16, 2011, in Tours, western France. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Marine Le Pen, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, became the new leader of France's far-right National Front party on Sunday. She promised to broaden her party's appeal while also opposing immigration and globalization.

Her father, who created the party 38 years ago, has been convicted of minimizing the Holocaust and left the party leadership Saturday after making an anti-Semitic comment about a journalist, AP reports.

Marine Le Pen, 42, won more than two-thirds of the vote against Bruno Gollnisch. The win means she will likely represent the National Front party in France's 2012 presidential elections. She could lend even more uncertainty to the election if her appeal to white, alienated youth secures her enough votes to force a run-off.

Her father, 82, used the party convention to attack a France-24 reporter who claimed security staff had roughed him up.

"The person in question believed it was necessary to say that it was because he was Jewish that he was thrown out. That couldn't be seen either on his (press) card or on his nose — if I dare say it," said Le Pen.

The father will remain the party's honorary president.

Marine Le Pen has said she wants to broaden her party's appeal from its anti-Islam and anti-immigrant reputation. However, in her first speech as party president, she touched on these very sentiments.

"Our country is at risk of dismemberment," she said. "The values of our civilization, our traditions, our way of life and our customs are being contested in many quarters — in schools, in the public sphere and in entire neighborhoods."

This BBC profile of Len Pen says she wants to "shed the party's xenophobic image and move it towards the mainstream of French politics."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/france/110116/marine-le-pen-france-national-front-party