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Jean-Marie Le Pen launches new FN-like party

September 5, 2015

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded France's far-right National Front party, has said that he is creating a similar new political movement. This comes just weeks after he was expelled from the party his daughter now leads.

Frankreich Jean-Marie Le Pen in Marseille
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Gardin/Wostok Press

The 87-year-old Le Pen used a meeting with supporters at a restaurant in the southern port of Marseille on Saturday to announce his decision to form the new political movement, dubbed "Blue-White-Red," in an effort to unite supporters of the National Front (FN).

"You will not be orphans," Le Pen, who was expelled from the FN last month over his anti-Semitic remarks, told his supporters.

"We can act in a similar way to the FN, even if we are not part of it."

At the same time, he stressed that he did not accept his exclusion from the FN by his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who succeeded her father as leader in 2011.

"We must end this witch-hunt," the elder Le Pen said.

The FN moved toexpel Jean-Marie Le Pen from the party on August 20, after a months-long row with his daughter over his most recent remarks playing down the Holocaust. Jean-Marie Le Pen had described the gas chambers used by the Nazis to kill Jews and other minorities during World War II as a "detail" of history.

This came at a time when Marine, who came in third in France's 2012 presidential election, was continuing to seek to change the party to make it more appealing to mainstream voters.

Speculation about a gate-crashing

Jean-Marie Le Pen's announcement came as the FN was holding an annual gathering in Marseille, three months ahead of regional elections. There has been speculation that he could turn up uninvited at this weekend's meeting.

Asked by reporters what she made of her father's announcement, Marine Le Pen sought to play down the development.

"Everyone is free outside the National Front to create any group he wants. This poses no problem," she said on the sidelines of the FN meeting. "He does what he wants, he is a free man."

pfd/se (dpa, Reuters)