February 11, 2018 / 12:05 PM / 2 years ago

France's Le Pen to propose new name for National Front

France's far-right National Front (FN) political party leader Marine Le Pen gestures during a news conference in Paris, France January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen said on Sunday she planned to propose a new name for her party as part of a drive to turn it into a force ready to govern the country.

Le Pen, who lost a presidential election in May 2017 to centrist Emmanuel Macron by 33.9 percent to 66.1, hopes to revamp her party at a March 10-11 congress. She has already watered down her opposition to the euro and focused more on the FN’s traditional anti-immigration and law-and-order issues.

“I will propose a name to change that of the National Front ... We are not renouncing anything, we are starting a new chapter in our history,” Le Pen said on CNEWS television, without giving any indication of what the new name might be.

She said she wants to transform the FN from a political opposition movement into one fit for government by winning over enough French voters to win a majority in the next presidential election, which is scheduled for 2022.

Le Pen played down a feud with the party’s founder, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has threatened to gatecrash next month’s party congress in Lille, northern France. He has criticised his daughter relentlessly from the sidelines since she kicked him out of the party in 2015 in a bid to soften its image.

Le Pen said the integration of top French socialists and conservatives into Macron’s centrist government had helped to erase the traditional left-right divide in French politics.

She said the main struggle was now between defenders of globalisation and patriots like herself.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Gareth Jones

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