The niece of current Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen stunned the French establishment this week by announcing she is quitting the party to spend more time with her young daughter. Following her aunt's defeat in the presidential election Sunday, the party was depending on Maréchal-Le Pen to win seats in her southern region during the legislative election in June. She added that she had told her aunt, who understood, respecting the choice because she - that is, Marine - knows how hard political life can be.
She hailed the historic result, saying it meant that she represents the country's "biggest opposition force".
Speaking at a panel discussion of the European Policy Centre in Brussels this afternoon experts said the far-right party was now in "disarray" but predicted Ms Marechal-Le Pen would return to lead it into the 2022 election.
Soon after the election defeat, Marechal-Le Pen said Le Pen's toning down of her stance on seeking an exit from the euro currency had come too late, and failed to convince voters who anxious about that part of her programme.
She is one of only two National Front MPs in the lower house of parliament.More news: Colbert has good week in ratings despite controversy
It's possible Marine Le Pen was as relieved as she was understanding.
French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, left, and outgoing President Francois Hollande, attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, May 8, 2017.
"I do not give up political fighting definitively", she said.
Valls, a center-leaning politician in favor of relaxing labor protections, had already thrown his support behind Macron before the presidential election after losing to Benoit Hamon in the Socialist primary.
"I believe we must speak about real problems with France, about mass immigration and demographic issues", he told RTL Radio.