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Le Pen's deputy quits National Front amid tensions in party

Europe
21.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Paris (dpa) - Marine Le Pen‘s highest-profile deputy quit the National Front on Thursday amid ongoing recriminations over the party‘s performance in this year‘s elections in France.

Florian Philippot, widely seen as the key strategist behind the National Front‘s electoral rise in recent years, told France 2 television that he was resigning from the party.

His announcement came hours after Le Pen stripped him of his responsibility for the party‘s strategy and communication, making him vice president without portfolio.

Philippot has been increasingly embattled within the party since Le Pen received a disappointing 34 per cent of the vote in the presidential run-off in May against centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Rivals have slammed his focus on opposing the EU and leaving the euro currency, which was emphasized at the cost of the party‘s traditional anti-immigrant position during the campaign.

"I‘ve been told I am vice president for nothing," Philippot said. "Look, I don‘t have a taste for the ridiculous and I don‘t like doing nothing. So, of course, I‘m leaving the National Front."

Le Pen took action against Philippot after he refused to resign as head of an association called "The Patriots" that he had formed inside the National Front.

"I respect his decision but I utterly reject the way he is dressing it up," Le Pen said in response to Philippot‘s resignation.

The Patriots had "all the characteristics" of a separate political party, she added.

While Philippot pushed a line of being neither left nor right and a populist economic stance, other National Front figures would prefer a more orthodox right-wing position.

 

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