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French far-right leader Le Pen to run for parliamentary seat

PARIS (Reuters) - Defeated French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Thursday she would run for parliament in June’s legislative elections because it was crucial there were lawmakers ready to oppose Emmanuel Macron’s policies.

Marine Le Pen, former French presidential election candidate for the far-right National Front (FN) party, poses prior to an interview on prime time news broadcast of French TV channel TF1, in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Guillot/Pool

Le Pen’s defeat to Macron on May 7 had raised questions about her leadership of the National Front and aides had said over the past days she had not yet decided if she would stand for parliament in her northern fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont, where she narrowly lost in 2012.

“It’s fundamental (that I run) after everything that we are seeing and all this collusion between the Socialists and the (conservative) Republicans,” she told TF1 evening news.

Centrist Macron gave ministerial jobs to conservatives, socialists and newcomers to politics on Wednesday, appointing an unprecedented all-stripes cabinet to bridge traditional divides and broaden his support.

“We need lawmakers that are not complicit and defend the interests of the French and France. So the best assurance is to have National Front (FN) lawmakers,” she said.

The FN bills itself as France’s main opposition party, a label contested by The Republicans.

The FN has only two outgoing lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, but polls show the party securing about 20 percent of the vote in the first round of the National Assembly election on June 11.

Although it is unlikely to secure that much of the vote in the second round, the party is expected to substantially increase its tally of lawmakers.

Le Pen’s heavy electoral defeat has prompted soul-searching within the far-right FN with some blaming her commitment to quitting the euro zone for the outcome.

Her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen, one of the two outgoing FN deputies, has decided not to stand for re-election, a move that highlighted the divisions in the party.

Marine Le Pen on Thursday sought to play down differences within the party, but acknowledged that the question of the euro had unnerved a few in her camp.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Toby Chopra