Maréchal said she would “most certainly return to politics”. Meanwhile, the niece of Marine Le Pen, who had retired to establish an institution of high learning, the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences (ISSEP), has been setting the stage for her return.
This was illustrated by her interview with the British weekly The Economist, as cited by Le Figaro, which seems to widen the gap that separates Maréchal from the President of the National Rally.
She is not yet sure when she will return to the political scene, but Maréchal appears to be defining the framework of the policy she would like to put forward soon. After having dropped her first surname and, apparently, distanced herself from the political legacy of Le Pen, Marion Maréchal has claimed “conservatism” while her aunt rather sees a current of thought “against meritocracy”, according Le Figaro.
Marine Le Pen has also agreed with the label of being “populist”, but Marion Maréchal has refused it.
Finally, a sign of a break in their beliefs, is that the two women do not agree on a crucial point, which has long been an historical marker of the Le Pen party: immigration. After the ideological shift in 2014, Marine Le Pen qualified the theory of a “great replacement” by means of immigration as a “conspiracy vision”, and last Sunday on the plateau of France 3, she added that she “does not know” such theory.
Her niece, on the other hand, believes the Great Replacement is “not absurd”, quoting a study that suggested “indigenous French” would be a minority by 2040.
The notion originated with French author Renaud Camus, who published Le Grand Remplacement in 2012. In it he argued native “white” Europeans were being reverse-colonised by non-white immigrants.
“The great replacement is very simple,” he has said. “You have one people, and in the space of a generation you have a different people.”
By siding with the author Camus, Maréchal shows, according to the British weekly, her desire to “break the ideological conformity” of French thought.
“We want our country back,” she told a US audience in 2018, saying “France is in the process of passing from the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church to the little niece of Islam… this is not the France that our grandparents fought for.”
She added there “is a youth ready for this fight in Europe today”.