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France’s Le Pen out of hospital for 90th birthday party

France's Le Pen out of hospital for 90th birthday party
AFP

Paris (AFP) – France’s far-right figurehead Jean-Marie Le Pen has left hospital after 11 days of treatment for a “dangerous pulmonary complication”, an aide told AFP on Saturday.

The increasingly frail Le Pen, who co-founded the National Front in 1972 and built it into a major force in French politics, turned 90 on Wednesday.

“He will rest and celebrate his birthday on June 30 with friends as planned,” said adviser Lorrain de Saint Affrique.

He had gone into hospital on June 12 with complications after a bout of flu.

His illness forced a delay in the verdict from a hate-speech case over comments he made about gay people.

The FN, known for virulently anti-immigration and anti-EU policies, has been led by his daughter Marine since 2011.

She has distanced herself from his controversial legacy which included a string of xenophobic and anti-Semitic comments that led to convictions. 

Marine kicked him out of the FN in 2015 and changed the name of the party — against his wishes — to National Rally at the beginning of the month.

Jean-Marie also spent several days in hospital in April 2015 with a heart problem, linked by party sources to stress from the highly publicised political blow-up with his daughter.

His latest hate speech case was adjourned in his absence until October 3.

He is being prosecuted on charges of inciting hatred and violence after comments that conflated homosexuality and paedophilia and suggested that gay couples should keep out of the public eye.

Those remarks in 2015-2016 fit his life-long habit of causing offence, most notoriously when he called the Nazi gas chambers a “detail” of history.

Despite advancing years, Le Pen keeps up regular media appearances and is still a lawmaker in the European parliament. 

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