France’s far right National Front has chosen Marine Le Pen as its new leader, replacing her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, party officials say. The results will be officially announced on January 16, but party sources said she had secured about two-thirds of members’ votes. Mr Le Pen is stepping down after leading the ultra-nationalist party, which he founded, for almost 40 years.
The FN, with its anti-immigration agenda has been shunned by France’s main parties. But Ms Le Pen has said she wants to break with its xenophobic, anti-Islam image and is confident the FN can become part of mainstream politics. A recent poll suggested the party could come third in the presidential elections to be held in 2012.