France's far-right National Front (FN) voted on Thursday to expel founder Jean-Marie Le Pen amid a simmering family feud between the firebrand leader and his daughter - party president Marine.
The party said Le Pen, 87, would be "notified shortly" of the decision it had adopted during a closed-door meeting at the National Front's headquarters in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre.
Le Pen said that he was “shocked” at the decision and felt like the “victim of an ambush” by the FN’s executive committee. He pledged he would appeal his exclusion to competent judicial authorities.
The FN's executive committee questioned him for hours and then voted to exclude him over inflammatory comments made to far-right publications in April.
At the time Le Pen repeated past claims that Nazi gas chambers were only a detail of history and defended Philippe Petain, the wartime French leader who cooperated with Nazi Germany.
Marine Le Pen openly split with her father, saying he was committing "political suicide", and later suspended him from the party.
But Le Pen senior has shown little interest in going quietly, successfully challenging his suspension in court and barging onto the stage during a major FN rally in May.
In a sign of how deep the rift with his daughter had become, he had told a local newspaper on Sunday that he would not vote for her in 2017 presidential elections.
Jean-Marie Le Pen led the FN as its president for four decades before handing over the party's reigns to Marine in 2011.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2015-08-20