Marine Le Pens lengthy bitter feud with father laid bare: Ashamed she shares my name!

Macron slams Le Pen’s press freedom and Constitution violations

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Mr Macron won the first round of the French election this weekend, taking 27.6 percent of the vote, while his far-right rival Ms Le Pen came second with 23.4 percent.  Both candidates are now on a quest to mine the remaining votes from their first round rivals, with the run-off likely to be more eagerly contested than the first round. Ifop pollster François Dabi claimed it was the closest election his company had predicted, with Mr Macron projected to win just 51 percent of the second round vote, compared to Ms Le Pen’s 49 percent.

In turn, the French far-right, experts say, seem to have a genuine chance of winning the presidential election for the first time in the Fifth Republic’s history. 

It is Ms Le Pen’s third attempt at becoming France’s first female President, and throughout her campaign she has tried to shed the legacy of growing up in the country’s most prominent far-right family. 

She has told France’s allies to “drop the preconceived ideas” they have of her, and campaigned on the line that she is “a mother” on a mission to protect the country from “insecurity, economic and social disorder and Islamist terrorism.”

Since taking over in 2011 Ms Le Pen has attempted to polish and “detoxify” her and her party’s image and move away from the racist, antisemtic imagery of the past. 

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In 2015, she became embroiled in a fierce feud with her father Jean-Marie, who co-founded the National Front in 1972.

She suspended him from the party over inflammatory comments he made belittling the Holocaust and lauding France’s Nazi-collaborating Vichy regime.

At the time, Jean-Marie used a television interview to defend the view that gas chambers used to kill Jews in the Holocaust were “merely a detail in the history” of World War 2 ‒ a remark for which he was convicted of hate speech.

He also has several further convictions, including one for contesting crimes against humanity after saying the Nazi occupation of France was not “particularly inhumane”.

After Ms Le Pen booted him from the party the self-styled elder statesman of the far right told Europe 1 that his daughter had behaved scandalously and that he now totally disowned her.

He also vowed to attack Ms Le Pen by all means possible. 

Jean-Marie said: “I’m ashamed that the president of the National Front bears my name. 

“I hope she gets rid of it as fast as possible.”

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In a further dig he suggested that Ms Le Pen shed her name by marrying her “concubine” ‒ her partner at the time Louis Aliot.

Jean Marie added: “I don’t want the head of the National Front to be called Le Pen.”

When asked if he disowned his daughter Jean-Marie added: “I don’t recognise any link to someone who treats me in such a scandalous way.”

He described his suspension as a plot to establish a new regime at the top of the party, while accusing Ms Le Pen of a “betrayal of her father”.

Jean-Marie, who is now 93, still refuses to be silenced and continues to make outrageous and criminal statements regarding Jews, Muslims, immigrants and people of colour. 

In September last year he went on trial over allegations he incited racial hatred, this time with comments targeting a Jewish pop singer Patrick Bruel.

The trial stemmed from a 2014 video on the party’s website in which Jean-Marie rallied against artists like Madonna and Yannick Noah, who had denounced his extremist views.

When asked about Mr Bruel, Jean-Marie referred to his Jewish origins with a sickening pun evoking the Holocaust. 

Despite his controversial political history, Jean-Marie remains a regular media presence and a lodestar for many on France’s far-right. 

His shock 2002 presidential election success, in which he got to the run-off stage before being defeated by Jacques Chirac, proved to the country’s far right that they could make inroads into mainstream politics.

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