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FRANCE

Is Marine Le Pen the voice of one of Twitter’s National Front groupies?

AFP | File photo of National Front leader Marine Le Pen
3 min

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has a groupie on Twitter, an account holder, Anne Lalanne, who espouses the very ideology of Le Pen’s National Front party.

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Lalanne, who joined the microblogging website in April 2013, faithfully retweets posts that reflect the party’s anti-immigrant, anti-EU views while jokingly dismissing Le Pen’s political rivals.

But if one of France’s most prestigious papers Le Monde is to be believed, Lalanne is not just Le Pen’s groupie – she is Le Pen. According to an article published in the paper’s online edition on Friday, Le Pen is apparently using a secret Twitter account.

For proof, Le Monde points to Lalanne’s Twitter handle @enimar68, an anagram of Le Pen’s first name, Marine, and the last two digits of her birth year 1968. The paper also notes that Anne is Le Pen’s middle name, while Lalanne is her mother’s maiden name, and further refers to unnamed sources confirming the account as Le Pen’s.

Libération, another reputable French paper, published a similar story on Friday.

The Lalanne account, however, waved off the accusations. “Thanks to libé for all my new (Twitter followers)!!! But not for the right reasons because this info is once again fake”, retorted a post written in French, three laughing emoticons appended to the message.

It wasn’t the first taunt lobbed at the media. The Lalanne account is peppered with retweets of messages that deride reporters, an attitude that mirrors Le Pen’s own disdain for the media who she views as elitist. For instance, one television journalist is mocked for having a desktop image of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a tweet that was re-posted by the Lalanne account.

Other retweets sneer at Le Pen’s various political rivals whether President François Hollande of the leftwing Socialists or conservative opposition head Nicolas Sarkozy, with one tweet titled the “great contest” asking which leader would push more French people into unemployment.

In one snide take against the European Union, a bloc that Le Pen’s National Front rejects, the Lalanne account retweeted a post that compares a European Commission meeting to an intergalactic gathering of Darth Vader, the Star Wars villain, and his troops.

Such roguishly pointed strikes are missing from Le Pen’s official and Twitter verified account, which features a photo of the extreme right-wing leader and has more than 681,000 followers. The Lalanne account, by contrast, maintains an anonymous air with a profile picture of flowers and a missing biography.

It also had a more modest following of 230 users, Le Monde reported.

But in the hours since the news reports about the Twitter account, those numbers have changed dramatically. At the time of the publication of this article, Anne Lalanne’s following shot up to 2288 and counting.

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