(JTA) — The executive bureau of France’s far-right National Front party voted to oust the movement’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and strip him of all official titles.
The vote Thursday evening by the bureau followed the decision last month by French prosecutors to charge Le Pen, 87, for genocide denial, which is forbidden in France, in connection with his statement that the Holocaust was a historical detail.
Le Pen, who has had multiple convictions for inciting racial hate against Jews and other minorities, last year entered into an open dispute with his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who as successor as party president has attempted to rehabilitate the National Front’s reputation in mainstream French society after decades of blatant xenophobia.
But the party, France’s third largest, would not immediately say why Le Pen, who had been its honorary president, was ousted.
“After deliberations, the National Front executive bureau, convened in a disciplinary forum, decided, through the required majority, on the exclusion of Mr. Jean-Marie Le Pen as a member of the National Front. The full decision and its motives will be given in the near future,” a statement read.
Striking an emotional note, Le Pen told RTL on Friday of his daughter: “It is awful to kill her father.”
The fight between the Le Pens became public last year, when he said during a video interview for his blog on the National Front website that Jean-Jacques Goldman, a Jewish singer who criticized the National Front, “should go to the oven” — a statement taken by many to be a reference to the Holocaust, though Le Pen denied this.
Marine Le Pen suspended his blog and distanced herself from his words.
Last month, the elder Le Pen said he would not vote for his daughter in the presidential elections because her actions amounted to “cutting the branch on which she is sitting.”