Jean-Marie Le Pen Launches New Party

Jean-Marie Le Pen launches new party named after France's flag, after being expelled from the rightist party he founded.

Ben Ariel ,

Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the expelled founder of France's National Front (FN) party, launched a new party on Saturday, according to the Reuters news agency.

The announcement of the new party, to be called "Blue-White-Red rally" after the colors of the French flag, overshadowed an annual gathering of his daughter Marine’s FN taking place in Marseille, three months before regional elections.

"You will not be orphans," the 87-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen, expelled from the FN last month, told supporters in a restaurant in the same city, according to Reuters. "We can act in a similar way to the FN, even if we are not part of it."

Le Pen announced in May that he would create his own "grouping" after being suspended from the party, but at the time claimed he had no plans to launch an alternative to his daughter’s party.

Marine Le Pen, who succeeded her father as leader in 2011, dismissed his latest move on Saturday.

"Everyone is free outside the National Front to create any group he wants. This poses no problem," she told reporters on the sidelines of the FN meeting, according to Reuters. "He does what he wants, he is a free man."

The row with her father erupted in April last year, when he defended comments he had made in the past about how the gas chambers of World War II were a "detail" of history.

Marine Le Pen openly split with her father following those comments, saying he was committing "political suicide," and later suspended him from the party.

But the octogenarian firebrand showed little interest in going quietly, successfully challenging his suspension in court and barging onto the stage during a major FN rally in May.