Le Pen supporters Aurelien Morissard/IP3/Getty Images

Qui est Marine Le Pen ?

PARIS – Je me souviens parfaitement de la première apparition de Marine Le Pen à la télévision. C’était juste avant la campagne présidentielle de 2002, et j’animais un débat sur une chaîne publique française. Pour des questions d’équilibre du temps de parole, il nous fallait un représentant du Front national (FN), le parti d’extrême-droite dont le chef était alors Jean-Marie Le Pen, le père de Marine. Bruno Gollnisch, le directeur de campagne qui semblait promis à sa succession, déclina notre invitation et nous proposa d’envoyer à sa place Marine Le Pen.

C’était évidemment une manœuvre, non seulement contre un média considéré comme hostile, mais aussi contre Le Pen elle-même –Gollnisch lui en voulait d’avoir été promue par son père dans l’appareil du FN et contestait sa légitimité. Marine était alors une avocate de trente-trois ans, peu connue et sans grande expérience, mais douée d’évidence d’un instinct sûr pour frapper la jugulaire et trouver la formule choc. Finalement, la manœuvre de Gollnisch s’est retournée contre lui : quelques jours après l’émission, un hebdomadaire titrait : « Quoi de neuf au FN ? Marine. »

Le 21 avril 2002 – une date qui résonne encore dans la mémoire politique française – Jean-Marie Le Pen, soixante-treize ans, recueillait 17% des suffrages au premier tour de l’élection présidentielle, éliminant du second tour l’ancien Premier ministre socialiste Lionel Jospin. Les électeurs de tous bords se rassemblèrent alors contre Le Pen dans ce qu’on a appelé le « Front républicain », accordant au candidat conservateur Jacques Chirac une victoire écrasante, avec 82% des voix.

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