France's Jean-Marie Le Pen pulls out of regional elections

Jean-Marie Le Pen with his granddaughter Marion Marechal-Le Pen , file picture 2012.
Jean-Marie Le Pen with his granddaughter Marion Marechal-Le Pen , file picture 2012. Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s Front National, pulled out of regional elections Monday following a row with his daughter and party leader Marine Le Pen.


Le Pen senior told daily Le Figaro on Monday that he will not stand for the party in the regional elections even though “I think I was the best candidate for the Front National,” he said.

He anointed his granddaughter Marion Maréchal-Le Pen - aged 25 and a rising star in the party - to run the list in the southeast of France.

“If she accepts, I think she would head a very good list (of candidates). She is certainly the best, I am not going to say after me, but she is,” he told Le Figaro.

Bruno Cautrès, a political scientist at Science Po, told RFI "Jean-Marie Le Pen had no other choice".

"I really think it's Jean-Marie Le Pen political career" Cautrès explains. "It's probably the least negative option. We all know that his supporters are still within the Front National (...) but this is a symbol of the end of his career."

Marine Le Pen called on her father to quit politics last week after he advocated a defence of France’s World War II leader Maréchal Philippe Pétain - who collaborated with the Nazis.

Marine Le Pen accused her father of committing political suicide and is trying to clean up the party’s image in order to make it more electable.

"The ultimate goal of Marine Le Pen is to be on the secound round of France's next presidential elections" notes Cautrès. "So she could not afford to have him around. You never know where he is going to go or what he is going to say. The next presidential election will be very narrow."



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