In an interview with Dutch radio, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said that, unlike Geert Wilders, she is “not waging war against Islam”. She is fighting the Islamisation of French society, she told Radio 1.
Ms Le Pen is the youngest of Jean-Marie Le Pen's three daughters. She took over party leadership from her father in January. Outlining her revisionist line on the National Front's extreme-right stand, she said: “I’m not my father…Our party is not based on hate towards others, but on love for our own country.”
Not racist: patriotic
Ms Le Pen has distanced herself from her father’s controversial views on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. “I am not racist, not anti-Semitic, not xenophobic, but patriotic,” she said.
La Peste Blonde, as she has been called, succeeded in bringing the National Front not just back into the spotlight, but into the competition for presidency with a driving force. She dismisses the label “extreme right” for her party, seeing herself as a “moderate”.
Qur'an: not to read literally
“That’s the difference between Geert Wilders and me. He reads the Qur’an literally: you can’t interpret the Qur’an – or indeed the Bible – literally. I resist fundamentalists who want to impose their will and law on France. Sharia Law is not compatible with our principles, our values or democracy,” Ms Le Pen asserted in the interview with Radio 1 reporter Frank Renout.
If successful in next year's presidential elections, Ms Le Pen would set up a "sovereignty ministry" to enable “France to be its own boss in its own country”. According to her, France should determine its own policy on financial matters and immigration.
Le Pen: populist and popular
In the 2010 Dutch elections, Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) emerged with 24 seats as the third-largest party. The PVV took part in government formation talks and supports the minority cabinet in parliament.
According to a survey published in March in Le Parisien, Ms Le Pen is so popular she would gain an unprecedented first-round victory if the French were to go to the polls today.
It's not unthinkable that the straight-talking mother of three could beat President Nicolas Sarkozy. His popularity is plummeting, as the media increasingly portray him as Monsieur Bling Bling.
As Ms Le Pen said on Dutch radio: "Our victory is a certainty, whether it's in 2012 or 2017."
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide