- Title: Charlie Hebdo cartoonist paints colourful portrait of Marine Le Pen's "dark side"
- Date: 7th October 2016
- Summary: LE PEN ADDRESSING RALLY, FLAGS FLYING
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2016 15:49
- Keywords: Marine Le Pen cartoon comic Riss Charlie Hebdo politics France election
- Location: PARIS, TOURS, FREJUS AND NANTERRE, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, TOURS, FREJUS AND NANTERRE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA002530BSCN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Charlie Hebdo cartoonist was among those to paint a colourful portrait of France's Marine Le Pen in a comic book published on Wednesday (October 5).
"The Dark Side of Marine Le Pen" imagines Le Pen waking on the morning of the second round of the 2017 presidential election which polls show she is likely to reach, but lose to any realistic opponent.
Charlie Hebdo's Riss and co-author Richard Malka published a comic in 2007 about then presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy and say they wanted to write about Le Pen as she remains a relatively unknown quantity.
The book explores Le Pen's relationship with her estranged father who founded the anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front, as well as top figures in the party.
Malka told France Inter radio that he based some of his research on Le Pen's own autobiography and the pair collaborated with National Front specialist Said Mahrane.
Since taking over from her father, Le Pen has reigned over a party on the rise, seeking to clean up its anti-Semitic image, excluding her father for his repeated references to the Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" of the Second World War.
But the book suggests that Le Pen was never intended for front line politics, stepping in out of love for the father she later sidelined.
"Thanks to one of life's accidents she took over. She wasn't destined for that and I think she only took over to defend her father, to rehabilitate her father, and the irony is she entered politics for her father and she's ended up killing him," Malka said during the radio interview.
Le Pen has sought to position herself as outside the mainstream of French politics, but Malka said the party now appeared to be all things to all people.
"You asked what struck me with Marine Le Pen and it's that this party has become the party of contradictions. Half want to leave the euro (currency), half don't; half of them are very economically liberal, the other half are putting forward a far-left programme; Marine Le Pen says she's secular but there's a whole Catholic traditionalist fringe movement," he said.
Since taking over as leader in 2011, Le Pen has reworked the image of the party and it has done better, election after election -- in the first round. But it still loses in run-offs, and now controls less than a dozen small and medium-size municipalities.
The mainstream political debate in the run-up to the election has been dominated by questions of identity and security -- fertile ground for the National Front -- and potential voters in eastern Paris on Wednesday said that Le Pen had taken full advantage.
"Right-wing ideas, and Marine Le Pen's in particular, have been widely covered in the media in France for quite a few years and so she doesn't have to do much, just scoop up the votes," Benjamin Schneider said.
"I think we need to get away from those subjects and think about what the future of France is, and not just let ourselves be carried away by fear, angst, and unfortunately those are topics that politicians are playing on a lot," said Marine Trufley.
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