Extreme right, moi? Front National chief Le Pen wants label banned

FN leader Marine Le Pen addresses supporters at a rally on 1 May
FN leader Marine Le Pen addresses supporters at a rally on 1 May Reuters/Charles Platiau

The leader of France's Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen, says she will ask judges to ban anyone from calling her party "extreme right". "We are absolutely not a party of the right," Le Pen said in a radio interview on Thursday.


"I'm considering seeking a judicial ruling that the description 'extreme right' is a pejorative term deliberately used to damage the Front National," Le Pen told RTL radio. "For journalists to label the FN like this is unethical, biased and intellectually sloppy."

RFI's styleguide in English advises journalists to refer to movements as "far-right" or "far-left", rather than "extreme-right" or "extreme-left" to avoid association with the judgemental term "extremist".

No such solution is available to our French colleagues, however, since they have no synonym for "extrême".

Since taking over the leadership of the FN in 2011, Le Pen

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has tried to clean up its image, banning skinheads from its demonstrations and expelling members who also belonged to smaller far-right groups.

Even before then the party claimed to be "neither right nor left but national" and her father, the movement's founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, rejected the "extreme-right"classification in court in 1997.

Marine Le Pen on Wednesday claimed that the term was an attempt to put the FN "in the same pot" with Norwegian

mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and Greece's Golden Dawn party.

Although the far-right group Ordre Nouveau played a key role in the establishment of the Front National, Le Pen denied that the party's origins was in "groupuscules" of the extreme right.

Socialist MP Jean-Christophe Cambadélis reacted angrily to Le Pen's remarks, accusing her of threatening freedom of expression.

He called on "all members of parliament, all democrats" to declare that the FN is "extreme right" on "blogs, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere" as an "act of resistance".

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