Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front (FN), was summoned Tuesday to appear in front of party chiefs at a disciplinary hearing on August 20 in the latest chapter in an ongoing feud with his daughter, FN leader Marine Le Pen.
In a letter signed by Marine Le Pen and seen by the AFP news agency, Jean-Marie Le Pen is called to appear before the party’s executive board to answer for a total of 15 different complaints against him.
They include comments he made claiming that the Nazi gas chambers were a mere detail of history and defending Marshal Philippe Pétain, the wartime French leader who cooperated with Nazi Germany.
Marine Le Pen has increasingly sought to sideline her father from the party he founded four decades ago amid fears his outspoken and controversial views could derail her bid for victory in France’s 2017 presidential election.
However, her efforts have been consistently thwarted in the courts.
After being suspended from the FN in May, Jean-Marie Le Pen was reinstated into the party by a court ruling in July. A vote by FN members to strip its founder of his title of honorary president was then blocked by judges later the same month. An appeals court upheld the decision in a ruling last week.
Responding to the summons, Jean-Marie Le Pen reacted in characteristically combative style.
“Her conduct is despicable and utterly unworthy of a candidate for president of the French republic,” the 87-year-old said of his daughter in comments to AFP.
“Already blocked by justice three times, Madame Le Pen persists in trying to exclude me from the movement of which I am the founder and honorary president.
“The accusations all relate to my freedom of expression as a politician and parliamentarian in a debate that I did not initiate.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2015-08-04