Jean-Marie le Pen, the father of France's mainstream far right movement, provoked both outrage and support on Friday when he tweeted an image of his daughter Marine le Pen with the slogan "Keep Calm And Vote Le Pen."
The elder Le Pen's message came as police struggled with two separate hostage standoffs in Paris. At least one of the incidents is believed linked to a terrorist attack on the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead Wednesday.
France's National Front, the far right party led by Marine le Pen, is widely expected to make political gains in the aftermath of the attacks. In an interview after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Marine le Pen said that she had been warning of the dangers of Islamist fundamentalism for years. "It is the Islamists who have declared war on France," she told France 2.
While France's next presidential election isn't due until 2017, some polls are already showing Le Pen as the most popular candidate in first round voting. Socialist incumbent Francois Hollande has struggled with economic woes and personal problems since taking office in 2012. His approval ratings hit record lows last year.
Online, there was clearly some support for the National Front: Jean-Marie le Pen's message received more than 1,000 retweets in less than an hour. However, many users expressed shock at what they saw as a cynical appropriation of a tragedy. "Vous êtes odieux" (You are odious), one user tweeted at le Pen. "Manœuvre nauséabonde" (a nauseating political maneuver), wrote another.
In an interview from 2013 about the @lepenjm Twitter account, a National Front staffer told Europe 1 that Le Pen "obviously does not directly tweet" but did give a "green light for each of our tweets."