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France's far-right party National Front's honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen smiles as he leaves the party's headquarters in Nanterre, near Paris, on May 4, 2015
Stephane De Sakutin—AFP/Getty Images

France’s far-right National Front (NF) party suspended its founder Jean-Marie Le Pen Monday, in response to a series of controversial remarks he made about the Holocaust.

Le Pen holds the honorary position of “president for life” of the NF, but a party congress is expected to meet in the next three months to decide whether to abolish this title, reports the BBC.

The 86-year-old, who founded the party in 1972, had called the Holocaust of World War II “a detail of history.” He also told a French far-right newspaper last month that he never regarded Philippe Pétain — a wartime collaborator with the Nazis — to be a traitor.

The suspension won’t affect Le Pen’s European Parliament seat, however.

Le Pen handed over the party’s leadership to his daughter, Marine Le Pen, in 2011, and since then she has tried to distance the NF from its racist and anti-Semitic past.

Before Monday’s hearing she condemned her father’s behavior, saying he should “no longer be able to speak in the name of the National Front.”


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