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France's Jean-Marie Le Pen to create political 'grouping' after National Front suspension

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far-right National Front party, says he plans to set up his own political "grouping." He was recently suspended from the party over Holocaust remarks.

Le Pen said on Monday he planned to create a new political grouping, after his National Front (FN) party membership was

suspended by the party committee last week

.

The 86-year-old repeated remarks that the Nazi gas chambers were a mere "detail" of World War Two, comments not tolerated by his daughter, party chief Marine Le Pen.

"I will not create another party. I will create a formation that will not compete with the FN," Jean-Marie Le Pen told Radio Courtoisie.

He appeared to soften a very public showdown with his daughter, whom he last week

angrily disowned

and refused to back in her 2017 presidential bid.

"Marine Le Pen has great qualities," he said in the interview. "She is a stand-up person, who shoulders overwhelming responsibilities."

Since taking the helm in 2011, Marine Le Pen has worked to rid the party of its overtly racist, anti-Semitic image. The party has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, with opinion polls suggesting she has a chance of reaching the runoff round in 2017.

She said on the weekend she felt her father could not stand the fact the party "continues to exist when he no longer heads it."

The FN executive board will hold a party meeting in three months to decide whether or not to also strip Jean-Marie Le Pen of his title of honorary chairman.

jr/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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