Le Pen supporters Aurelien Morissard/IP3/Getty Images

¿Quién es Marine Le Pen?

PARÍS – Recuerdo vívidamente la primera aparición televisiva de la candidata presidencial francesa Marine Le Pen. Fue apenas antes de la campaña presidencial de 2002 y yo tenía que moderar un debate en la televisión pública francesa. Para un equilibrio político, necesitábamos un representante del Frente Nacional (FN) de extrema derecha, por entonces encabezado por el padre de Le Pen, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Bruno Gollnisch, director de la campaña de Jean-Marie y su aparente heredero, rechazó nuestra invitación y ofreció, en cambio, enviar a Marine.

Fue obviamente una treta que Gollnisch le jugó no sólo a un medio considerado hostil, sino también a la propia Le Pen -una rival con la que se sentía molesto porque, en su opinión, había sido indebidamente promovida por su padre en el aparato del FN-. Le Pen era una abogada de 33 años prácticamente desconocida y con poca experiencia, aunque con un instinto evidente para las frases de impacto. Al final, el plan de Gollnisch puede haber producido un efecto indeseado: a los pocos días de la aparición de Le Pen, el titular en una revista semanal decía "¿Qué hay de nuevo en el FN? ¡Marine!"

El 21 de abril de 2002 -una fecha que todavía resuena en la memoria política francesa- Jean-Marie Le Pen, de 73 años, recibió el 17% de los votos en la primera ronda de la elección presidencial, dejando afuera de la segunda ronda al ex primer ministro socialista Lionel Jospin. Pero ciudadanos de todas las tendencias luego votaron en contra de Le Pen en un llamado "frente republicano", lo que le dio al candidato conservador Jacques Chirac una victoria contundente con el 82% de los votos.

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