Marine Le Pen Succeeds Father at Helm of France's National Front

The younger le Pen puts a friendlier face on the politics of the protectionist party that battles immigration and Islamists.

Marine le Pen took over the reins of France's far-right Front National from her father Jean-Marie on Sunday after being elected the party's new leader.

Marine, 42, a lawyer and divorced mother of three, received 68 per cent of votes cast by party members, against 32 per cent for her only rival Bruno Gollnisch.

Marine Le Pen reacts after she was elected as the new president of France's far-right National Front party, January 16, 2011.AP

Jean-Marie le Pen, 82, backed his daughter to replace him after deciding to bow out as leader of the party he founded in 1972.

Marine Pen lends a softer face to the National Front, which is rabidly anti-immigration, anti-globalization and anti-European Union.

Her rhetoric is less provocative than that of her father, who famously dismissed the Holocaust as a "detail" of the Second World War.

But some of her remarks have sparked controversy. In December she compared Muslims praying on French streets to the invasion of France by Nazi Germany.