Niece of France's Le Pen held as rising star quits politics

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The niece of defeated French presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, says she is quitting politics - for now.

The 27-year-old, who is the granddaughter of National Front co-founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, is also said to be stepping down from a regional council where she leads the main opposition group.

"The National Front. must deeply renew itself in order to rise to the historic opportunity and meet the French people's expectations", Le Pen said in a brief address to her supporters shortly after the first projections of the presidential elections' results were released.

Ms Maréchal-Le Pen was critical of her aunt's leftist economic pledges during the campaign and of her promise to drop the euro in favour of a return to the franc.

Her absence not only deprives the party of potential wins; it will deprive many National Front officials of a popular local leader whom many in southern France prefer to her aunt. Macron defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen handily in Sunday's presidential vote, and now must pull together a majority for his year-old political movement by mid-June legislative elections.

Ms Le Pen is estranged from her father, while Ms Marechal-Le Pen and him have closer ties.

French presidential candidates trade barbs ahead of Sunday's crucial vote
French flags were flying alongside European Union flags. "Go and convince (others), make her lose next Sunday", he told the crowd. Marchers included far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in fourth in the first-round presidential vote.

"I am not giving up the political fight for good" she wrote, according to the newspaper.

Her words were echoed by other National front politicians.

"You know my story, you know I've been in this political world all my life".

And many considered Marion, not Marine, to be the true future of the far-right, even though Marine was far from a softy. In 2015, Maréchal-Le Pen told the Guardian, "I'm here for the long term".

Marechal-Le Pen is regarded as more traditional and conservative than Marine Le Pen.

If Le Pen did run in the parliamentary elections and lost "things could get complicated for her", Gombin said, adding that this could harm her capacity to make the FN evolve as she likes.