France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen steps back to ease family feud

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

(Reuters) – Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France‘s far-right National Front, said on Monday he would not seek its ticket to stand in regional polls, taking some of the sting out of a damaging public row with his daughter Marine, the party’s current leader.

But the 86-year-old former paratrooper told Le Figaro in an interview that he was disappointed by his daughter and would not quit politics, showing that the family feud that could emerge as a threat to the FN’s bid for power is not necessarily over.

Marine Le Pen, who in 2011 took over as FN party leader from her father, has been trying to persuade him to retire both from the December regional polls and from politics altogether.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has been convicted for incitement to racial hatred, last week defended his view that Nazi gas chambers were a mere “detail” of war. That prompted his daughter to demand that his role in the party be discussed at a meeting of FN executives on Friday.

Jean-Marie Le Pen said in a statement that he will not stand in the south-east Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region because the party was at risk of being “dangerously weakened” over what he called a severe but unjustified crisis over the comments he made last week.

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