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France

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen goes to court over party expulsion

© Philippe Lopez, AFP | Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France's far-right National Front (FN), arrives to contest his expulsion from the party at a court in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre on October 5, 2016

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-10-05

The bitter public feud between French far-right firebrand Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine entered a fourth round on Wednesday, as the elderly provocateur returned to court to try to overturn his ouster from the National Front (FN).

The FN's 88-year-old founder was last year kicked out of the party now led by his daughter for making a string of inflammatory comments.

The elder Le Pen had repeatedly defied his daughter's attempt to purge the party of the extremist taint he had bequeathed.

The final straw came when he reiterated his view that the Nazi gas chambers were a mere "detail" of history.

Marine Le Pen, who has her eye on the French presidency in next year's elections, openly split with her father over the remarks.

Jean-Marie Le Pen was then unceremoniously barred from the party that he co-founded in 1972.

But he refused to go quietly, chalking up three court victories against the process by which he was dumped.

On Wednesday, a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre where the FN has its headquarters will hear his latest challenge to his exclusion, which he says was "marred by irregularities, both in style and substance."

Le Pen is seeking 2 million euros ($2.2 million) in damages.

He also asked the court to confirm him as the FN's honorary president, a position he has held since resigning from the party leadership in 2011 to make way for his daughter.

Beyond the courtroom the elder Le Pen has continued to take potshots at the FN leader, whom polls show will make it to the run-off round of the top two presidential candidates in May.

In an interview with Le Parisien daily Tuesday he accused Marine Le Pen of "abandoning" the ground held by the FN to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

"She's wrong to try to appear more centrist than she is," he said, accusing her of "neglecting the public mood, which is very right-wing."

Sarkozy is seeking to return as president next year with a programme heavily focused on national identity and the place of Islam in public life.

Le Pen accused him of chasing after FN voters.

"He's becoming more like Jean-Marie!" he said.

(AFP)

Date created : 2016-10-05

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