French court orders Front National to reinstate Jean-Marie Le Pen

Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen leaves the courthouse in Nanterre on 12 June
Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen leaves the courthouse in Nanterre on 12 June Reuters/Charles Platiau

A French court has ordered the far-right Front National (FN) to reinstate its long-time leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was suspended from membership in a clash with his daughter, Marine, who now leads the party. But a vote of members may still strip him of his honorary presidency of the movement he cofounded.


The court in Nanterre, near Paris, ordered the party to restore all his rights as a member to Jean-Marie Le Pen, "specifically that of honorary president" on Thursday.

It ruled that the FN's executive did have the right to suspend him, which is what it did after he repeated a claim that the Nazi gas chambers were a "detail of World War II" and made other provocative remarks.

But it said that the body broke party rules because it did not specify that the measure was provisional and had to be followed by further disciplinary proceedings.

The row is the climax of a period of tension between the 87-year-old former leader and his daughter, who is trying to revamp the party's image.

And that row is not over.

FN members are currently voting by post on whether to abolish the position of honorary president, which was created specially for Jean-Marie Le Pen when Marine took over.

He has called on his supporters to boycott the vote, claiming it is not secret and is a covert attempt to change the party's political orientation.

Party officials claim that the membership overwhelmingly supports Marine and will vote for the change.

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