French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party leader and member of parliament Marine Le Pen stands on stage during a congress of the party in Perpignan, southern France, on July 4, 2021. Marine Le Pen won re-election as head of France's far-right National Rally Photograph:( AFP )
There was no challenge for the party leadership
Marine Le Pen got re-elected as head of National Rally on Sunday. The re-election took place at a party congress where she is seeking support for her 2022 presidential bid. The party has performed badly in regional polls.
The National Rally (RN) was tipped for strong gains in regional elections last month. But the party could not win any of the 13 regions of mainland France.
The results raised questions about Le Pen's strategy of trying to detoxify her party's brand and position it as a more mainstream right-wing force.
However, there was no challenge for the party leadership. She received support from 98.35 per cent of member in online and postal ballots.
Le Pen, addressing reporters, said she felt "extremely combative' about her chances of winning presidency on her third attempt.
"I have no doubts about what needs to be done for France," said Le Pen, who will use a keynote address later Sunday to rally party faithful for the 2022 campaign.
Polls show the election coming down to another duel between Le Pen and centrist President Emmanuel Macron, who defeated the anti-immigration candidate handily in the second round of the 2017 vote.
But that scenario is no longer seen as a foregone conclusion.
Macron is also seen as being weakened by the poor performance of his Republic on the Move (LREM) party in the regional election.
LREM, which was founded in 2016, finished last of the big parties, winning just 7 percent of second-round votes in a contest characterised by record low turnout.
(With agency inputs)