Europe

Defeated Le Pen not giving up yet

Marine Le Pen has congratulated centrist Emmanuel Macron on his election victory, but the defeated populist firebrand isn't going away.

Vanquished far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has been quick to concede defeat and congratulate her opponent Emmanuel Macron on his victory.

But as Europe's capitals were breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating the defeat of the anti-EU populist by a pro-European centrist, Le Pen isn't planning on giving up just yet.

With 11 million votes, she secured a record number of votes for the party founded by her now estranged father.

Since taking over as party leader she has been politically astute, and has worked to "de-demonise" the party,

She did not even shy away from expelling her own father over his repeated comments downplaying the Holocaust as a "detail" of World War II.

Addressing her supporters on Sunday, she hailed the election result as "historic" and promised to "lead the fight" in France's parliamentary elections next month.

She also called for a "profound transformation" of the Front National to create "a new political force".

Renaming and re-branding the party, which many still associate with racism and anti-semitism seems to be a priority, according to Florian Philippot, a senior figure within the party.

Le Pen said in her presidential concession speech that she would make "deep" changes to her party, and interim party president Steeve Briois told The Associated Press that would include a new name.

Le Pen herself hinted at the new strategy herself: "a major political reorganisation around the divide between patriots and globalists," she told supporters was necessary to build a new movement.

Watch: Emmanuel Macron elected French president wants to unite France

Le Pen also said that the campaign for the legislative election in June had already started, and that she was planning to "be at the forefront of this fight."

The latest opinion polls see her taking 21 to 22 per cent of the vote. "I call on all patriots to join us," she said.

DPA

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