Comments on Holocaust, homosexuality loom over Le Pen’s election bid

Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid risks a setback after the man named interim head of her National Front party stood down to defend himself against charges that he shares the views of Holocaust deniers and her father said gay marriage was “exalted” in a ceremony paying tribute to a dead policeman.

PARIS, FRANCE (REUTERS) – Marine Le Pen’s bid to defy the odds and win election as French president risked a setback on Friday (April 28) when the man named interim head of her National Front party stood down to defend himself against charges that he shares the views of Holocaust deniers.

Days from the May 7 ballot when the far-right leader faces off against centrist ex-banker Emmanuel Macron, the abrupt exit of Jean-Francois Jalkh awoke ghosts from the Front’s past and revived a furore sparked by Le Pen’s father when he called the Nazi gas chambers a “detail” of history.

The renewed controversy threatens moves by Le Pen, who expelled her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, from the party two years ago, to cleanse the FN’s image of xenophobic and anti-semitic associations and make it more palatable to a broader electorate.

Jean-Marie Le Pen invited himself in the campaign when he posted a video on Thursday (May 27) saying a remembrance ceremony for a policeman killed last week by an attacker in Paris “exalted” the concept of gay marriage.

“The long speech he made in some way institutionalised homosexual marriage, exalted it in a public way, and that shocked me,” Le Pen said in an interview published on his web site.

Jean-Marie Le Pen was expelled from the National Front in 2015 for his saying that World War Two Nazi gas chambers were a “detail” of history.

Policeman Xavier Jugele was killed on April 24 while on duty on the Champs Elysees avenue.