Le Pen's grand-daughter battles for seat
THE grand-daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen is on course to win a seat in the French parliament after her Socialist rival defied party orders to withdraw in favour of a mainstream right-wing candidate.
Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a 22-year old law student, is one of five far-right candidates in with a chance of becoming an MP in tomorrow's final round of legislative elections, in which the Socialists are set to win a majority.
The National Front has failed to win and keep a seat in the National Assembly since 1986, but Miss Marechal-Le Pen came top in the first round in the Vaucluse department.
Miss Marechal-Le Pen's aunt, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-immigration, anti-Europe party, won an even higher proportion of the vote in the first round of the elections, taking 42pc in her constituency of Henin Beaumont, in the Pas de Calais in the north.
However, her telegenic niece stands the better chance of being elected. In Miss Le Pen's constituency, the far-left former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has urged his supporters to unite behind Miss Le Pen's Socialist rival, who is likely to win.
But in Carpentras, the third-placed Socialist candidate, Catherine Arkilovitch, is refusing to follow party orders to bow out and allow the second-placed right-wing UMP candidate, Jean-Michel Ferrand, to block the National Front.
The Socialist Party has piled pressure on Miss Arkilovitch to stand down, saying that every effort must be made to stop the "emblematic personality" of Miss Marechal-Le Pen "getting a foothold in the department".
With the vote split three ways, a poll has forecast that Miss Marechal-Le Pen will win with 36.5pc, ahead of her UMP and Socialist rivals on 34.5pc and 29pc, to make her France's youngest MP.
The Socialist Party has proposed withdrawing its candidates from second-round races where others have a better chance of beating the National Front and has called on the UMP to do the same.
Two polls yesterday suggested that President Francois Hollande's Socialists would win outright control of the parliament tomorrow, securing more than the 289 seats required without needing the support of the eurosceptic far Left or their Green allies.
This would strengthen Mr Hollande's hand in pushing for a greater emphasis on growth in Europe, rather than solely on austerity. (© Daily Telegraph, London)