French politician Marine Le Pen, the head of the far right National Front, has been cleared of charges for inciting discrimination and hatred towards Muslims while on the campaign trail in December 2010. The charges stemmed from an incident where Le Pen compared Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, and she would have faced a penalty of a year in prison and a steep fine if found guilty. The National Front, a socially conservative nationalist political party founded by Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, returned surprisingly strong results in the first round of France’s recent elections, but failed to win any regions in the second round of voting. Marine forced her father out of the party earlier this year, seeking to distance the party from Jean-Marie’s reputation for racism and anti-semitism. The rising popularity of Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a “svelte blonde lawyer and mother” who happens to be Marine’s niece and Jean-Marie’s granddaughter, contributed to the party’s recent surge in elections, though neither Marine nor Marion won a seat. Marine Le Pen is expected to run for France’s presidency in 2017.
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