As Jean-Marie Le Pen faces a ban from the Front National (FN), the French political party he co-founded and once led, his daughter and current party leader Marine Le Pen has said she will not attend today’s disciplinary hearing which decides her father’s fate.
As Politico reports 87-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen faces a ban from the FN for a number of unpalatable comments he made earlier this year, including that he still believes Nazi gas chambers used to kill several million Jews, Roma, homosexuals, the disabled, and opposition intellectuals and clergy are but a “mere detail” of history. His comments were deemed “political suicide” by his daughter.
Marine Le Pen became party president in 2011. Since then she has attempted to modernise the anti-EU, anti-immigration party her father once led in order to give her the best chance of presidential run in 2017. She wants the party to be defined by its opposition to the EU and a defence of secularism, not xenophobia.
In enacting this long-term political strategy she seeks to counter accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, hence why she has reacted so strongly against Jean-Marie’s public pronunciations.
As Breitbart News previously reported she has been working for some time to distance herself and the FN from her father by stripping him of his status as the party’s honorary honorary party chairman, a role he has had since his daughter’s leadership election. So far she has not met with success.
Legal wrangling last month saw a court overturn the result of what it said was an illegal postal vote by party members which sought to remove Jean-Marie’s party credentials.
Ninety-four per cent of respondents voted in favour of stripping the former Foreign Legionnaire of his title, but lawyers representing him argued that only a physical membership meeting could vote. For now that option is deemed too costly for the group.
Jean-Marie has refused to attend previous disciplinary meetings, but this time has opted to attend. His allies have been demanding the executive committee meeting be open to the press and public to ensure “transparency”.
He intends “to administer a lesson, and not to receive one” but is out of luck as Marine has decided not to come this time. She and her closest ally, Vice President Florian Philippot, will not attend leaving it up to the other seven members of the executive committee to vote by simple majority on whether or not her father should be excluded.
Philippot, outed as a gay man in a French magazine last year, told l’Opinion newspaper the decision will ensure “total impartiality” in light of the “personal, direct and repeated” attacks made by Jean-Marie against both Philippot and Marine. Jean-Marie sees it differently, saying: “The leaders have taken shelter, only the foot soldiers remain.”
Marine will hope to draw a line under the family feud before September when she launches her campaign for a local seat in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, an FN stronghold. That December election is intended to kick start her 2017 presidential campaign, a vote in which The Local reports she will not have her father’s support.
Jean-Marie, once described as a “parasite” on the FN by Philippot, is likely to appeal a decision to exclude him from the FN.