'Black sheep' embarrass the National Rally ahead of decisive parliamentary vote

Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) has worked hard to shed its far-right extremist roots, but the party's more respectable image has been tarnished by a series of controversies involving candidates who qualified for the final round of the legislative elections on July 7.

The qualification of hundreds of National Rally candidates for the second round of France’s legislative elections has brought to light a number of "black sheep" within the party's ranks, suggesting that the party’s racist and antisemitic roots are still present, despite its recent makeover.

Ludivine Daoudi, an RN candidate in Normandy in western France, was forced to withdraw after a left-wing rival in her Calvados constituency posted a screengrab of Daoudi’s old Facebook account showing her wearing a Nazi cap emblazoned with a swastika.

"She doesn't deny it, she took this photo," said Philippe Chapron, a local RN official,in a radio interview on July 2. "Indeed it was in bad taste. In any case, her candidacy will be withdrawn as of today," he said.

Daoudi is far from being the only candidate for the National Rally causing embarrassment. Here is a roundup of RN candidates who have made racist comments or engaged in unlawful behaviour, putting them at odds with the party’s attempt at a makeover.

"It's clumsy and ill-considered, to say the least. It’s coming from a woman who's not used to political expression," said the local RN official Jean-Michel Cadenas , who stressed she did not have experience answering media queries.

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