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.

le pen - AP - January 16 2011

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.