Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen suspended over anti-Semitic remarks

Former head of French far-right National Front party expelled for comments minimizing Holocaust, praising French Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain.

French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was suspended Monday from the National Front party he built into a political force over four decades after a series of controversial remarks about Jews and Nazis put him on the fast track to disgrace.



The party's executive bureau met Monday and decided to suspend Le Pen's membership in the party he co-founded, pending a party-wide vote on abolishing the position of honorary president he's held for five years.


Jean-Marie Le Pen (Archive Photo: MCT) (Photo: MCT)
Jean-Marie Le Pen (Archive Photo: MCT)


In a statement, the party said a majority of its leadership supports doing away with the honorary presidency, held by 86-year-old Le Pen since 2011.


The move will be put to a vote of all party members within three months, the statement said.


Le Pen has been a thorn in the side of National Front leaders practically since he turned over the presidency to his ambitious daughter, Marine Le Pen, in 2011. She has campaigned to transform the anti-immigration party from political pariah to a voter-friendly alternative with her eye on 2017 presidential elections -- while keeping a steady focus on traditional party themes such as immigration and security, and railing at what she claims is the "Islamization" of France.


Before the decision, the party's broader political bureau said it "disapproves the comments made and reiterated by Jean-Marie Le Pen," and affirmed its confidence in his daughter, to ensure that "nothing can divert (the party) from its goal of gaining power in the service of France and the French."


Marine Le Pen and Jean-Marie Le Pen (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Marine Le Pen and Jean-Marie Le Pen (Photo: Reuters)


Jean-Marie Le Pen, sharp-tongued as ever as he left a party meeting Monday, said he had been "repudiated" and wouldn't attend the later meeting of the executive bureau on which he sits.


"The founding president of the National Front considers it undignified to appear," he told iTele TV.


Le Pen insisted he hasn't spoken on behalf of the National Front since handing over the party reins to his daughter in 2011, and said disagreements within any party's ranks is normal.


"We're not a Soviet party. We are not required to have the same ideas on all subjects," he said.


The sanction comes as the elder Le Pen faces criticism for recent remarks minimizing the Holocaust -- for which he has been convicted in the past -- and for praising French wartime leader Philippe Petain, who collaborated with the Nazis.


Polls have shown rising support for the anti-immigration party, which has made gains in recent French elections.


"I think he should no longer speak in the name of the National Front," Marine Le Pen said Sunday on iTele.


Jean-Marie Le Pen has been forced to abandon his plans to run in regional elections in southern France in December despite his popularity there and his seat on the regional council.


פרסום ראשון: 05.04.15, 22:43
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