(JTA) – Far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen said he will not run in regional elections following a conflict with his daughter, who heads the National Front party he founded.
Le Pen told the French magazine Le Figaro that he will not run this year in the southeast Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, “even though I think I am the best candidate.”
“If I must make a sacrifice for the future of the movement, I would not be the one to cause it damage,” he said.
His daughter, Marine Le Pen, said last week that she would oppose allowing her father to run for office as a member of the party after the elder Le Pen slammed her in an interview for criticizing his remarks diminishing the Holocaust.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, told the far-right weekly Rivarol earlier this month that he stood by his remark that the Nazi gas chambers were a “detail” of World War II, and accused his daughter of betrayal for criticizing him. He also defended the French Nazi collaborator Phillipe Petain and called on France to join Russia to defend the “white world.”
Jean-Marie Le Pen remains honorary president of the National Front and retains a seat in the European Parliament.
Marine Le Pen, who has sought to gain mainstream acceptance for the anti-immigrant National Front by eliminating her father’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, responded by saying of her father, according to the Wall Street Journal, “His role as honorary president (of the party) doesn’t authorize him to take the National Front hostage, with crude provocation that seemingly aims to harm me but unfortunately deals a heavy blow to the whole movement.”
Marine Le Pen has called a meeting of the National Front’s executive committee for April 17 to discuss her father’s role in the party going forward.