French far-right firebrand Jean-Marie Le Pen announced Saturday his intention to create a new far-right faction, distinct from the National Front (FN) party he co-founded and was expelled from after feuding with its current leader, his daughter.
But a few kilometres away in an up-scale restaurant, her father was meeting with around 300 supporters.
Jean-Marie Le Pen expressed his wish to start a movement dubbed the "Blue White and Red Rally", aiming to unite those without FN party membership and still loyal to him.
"I propose that we join together, you will not be orphans, in the Blue, White and Red Rally... to take action in the same way as the National Front, without belonging to it," he said.
"The Front National and Marine Le Pen will not be able to refuse our move," Le Pen declared.
But that's not exactly the way his daughter saw it.
"Jean-Marie Le Pen can create all the associations he wants – he's been promising one for many months – [but] there are no associations within the FN," said Marine Le Pen.
He dismissed the hearing as a "mockery" and an "ambush" and blamed Marine, who took over from him as leader in 2011, of pulling the strings from afar.
"It's dirty to kill your own daddy, so she didn't kill daddy directly, she did it through her henchman," Le Pen told French radio at the time.
The elder Le Pen has been a persistent problem for his daughter as she tries to smooth over the overt racism and xenophobia of the party's past.
The final straw came in April when he rehashed familiar comments about gas chambers being a "detail" of history and said France should get along with Russia to save the "white world".
Marine Le Pen then openly split with her father, saying he was committing "political suicide".
But the former Foreign Legionnaire has refused to go quietly, vowing to "reconquer" the party he founded in 1972.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2015-09-06