Europe

France National Front: Jean-Marie Le Pen suspended

Jean-Marie Le Pen (4 May) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Le Pen said he had been "disowned" as he left FN headquarters in Nanterre earlier

France's National Front (FN) party has suspended founder Jean-Marie Le Pen over a series of inflammatory remarks and a feud with his daughter Marine.

A disciplinary meeting of the far-right party's executive was called after Mr Le Pen repeated his view that the Holocaust was "a detail of history".

His role as honorary president of the party will now be under review, the party said in a statement.

Mr Le Pen founded the National Front (FN) in 1972 and led it until 2011.

He refused to appear before the board, telling reporters he had been "disowned" by his political family.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Marine Le Pen has made it clear she wants her father out of politics

Before the hearing, Marine Le Pen said her father should "no longer be able to speak in the name of the National Front".

Mr Le Pen told far-right newspaper Rivarol last month that he had never considered France's wartime collaborationist leader Philippe Petain a traitor and labelled Prime Minister Manuel Valls an immigrant.

His daughter has been trying to steer the party away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.


Analysis: Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

This was the response being pushed for by the Young Turks of the FN, the group around Marine Le Pen who for a long time have urged a showdown with her father.

Their view - and hers too - is that the party's growth is being held back by memories of what it used to be, and that to move to the next level it must cut itself free from its past.

There are risks. Le Pen pere will be a nuisance till his last dying breath. The old guard will grumble. Marine Le Pen's enemies will say nothing really has changed.

But the potential dividends are enormous. Marine Le Pen is showing herself every bit as stubborn and determined as her father. The irony is that he is the victim.


Mr Le Pen has been suspended but not dismissed by the party. An extraordinary party congress is expected to be held within three months aimed at ending the function of honorary president.

Some commentators have suggested he could be more of a risk outside of the party than if he were contained within it.

Mr Le Pen still holds a seat in the European Parliament and continues his post as regional councillor in the south of France.


Image copyright AFP

Jean-Marie Le Pen: A career in controversy

  • 1987 - First makes his infamous remarks describing the Holocaust as a "detail of history"
  • 1997 - Assaults rival Annette Peulvast-Bergeal during parliamentary election campaign
  • 2006 - One of many convictions for inciting racial hatred over inflammatory remarks about France's Muslim population
  • 2007 - Tells Le Monde newspaper "you can't dispute the inequality of the races"
  • 2015 - Repeats views on the Holocaust, prompting Marine Le Pen to accuse him of trying to "rescue himself from obscurity"

A family feud on the French far-right

A step closer to power for the FN?

From 'untouchables' to EU force


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