But after the Nov. 13 attacks that claimed at least 130 lives in Paris and stunned the nation, Le Pen, 47, and her formerly fringe party have found themselves being listened to as never before. Long scorned by the political mainstream as a band of racist xenophobes, the far right in France — and across Europe — is increasingly setting the terms of the post-attack debate.
Since the mass killings gripped Paris, the Socialist government of President François Hollande has borrowed hawkish policies and rhetoric from Le Pen’s playbook. Leaders of the center-right opposition have gone even further.
The idea of a Le Pen presidency in 2017 — once widely regarded as a fantasy — is seen as a real if remote prospect, with her surging National Front expected to take a major step toward legitimacy in regional elections early next month.
“They’re likely to be ruling at least two major regions of France,” said Jean-Yves Camus, an analyst with the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs. “That would be a huge event.”
AMIENS, France — After years of shouting from the sidelines of French politics about the dangers of unchecked immigration, open borders and radical Islam, #Marine Le Pen had a message this week for the French establishment: I told you so.