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May 4, 2015 6:39 AM

French far-right patriarch to go before disciplinary board

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) The man who for nearly four decades built France's far-right National Front into a political force may now be on the fast track to disgrace.

The party's executive bureau was to meet Monday to decide possible sanctions against Jean-Marie Le Pen over his anti-Semitic remarks, amid a high-stakes family feud. His daughter Marine Le Pen the current party leader and other rising stars within the party want to shut him up.

National Front officials have not specified what sanctions the elder Le Pen could face for recent remarks minimizing the Holocaust for which he has been convicted in the past and for praising French wartime leader Philippe Petain, who collaborated with the Nazis.

Polls have shown rising support for the party, which has made gains in recent elections. The decision to haul him before a disciplinary committee marks a low point in the daughter's relations with her father, who co-founded the party in 1972.

"I think he should no longer speak in the name of the National Front," Marine Le Pen said Sunday on iTele TV. She has campaigned to transform the anti-immigration party from political pariah to a voter-friendly alternative with her eye on 2017 presidential elections.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, arriving for a party meeting, said he was "serene" but "determined," adding: "I don't change at my age."

Party officials have refused to list the options, but say a nine-member executive bureau that will decide Le Pen's fate later Monday cannot remove his cherished status as "honorary president for life." They say it was conferred by a party congress which alone can take it away. Both Le Pens are members of the executive bureau.

The 86-year-old father has been a thorn in the side of party leaders practically since he turned over the presidency to his ambitious daughter four years ago. She has kept a steady focus on traditional party themes, such as immigration and security, and railing at what she calls the "Islamization" of France.


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