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Jean-Marie Le Pen

MEPs move to deny extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen platform

Jean-Marie Le Pen 20%

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A concerted attempt was under way in the European parliament yesterday to rewrite the chamber's rulebook to deny France's veteran extremist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a platform presiding over the opening of a new five-year term. Le Pen confirmed the worst fears of MEPs yesterday when he told the parliament that the Nazi gas chambers and the Holocaust mass murder of 6 million Jews was a mere detail of history.

He chose to reiterate remarks that have sparked worldwide outrage in the past and seen him convicted as an anti-semite and racist after being challenged about his fitness to open the first session following European parliament elections in June. Under assembly rules, the oldest elected MEP chairs the first session of a new mandated parliament until the assembly's president or speaker is decided.

Le Pen, expected to be re-elected in June, would probably be the "doyen" of the parliament and thus eligible to chair the opening session at the age of 81 on Bastille Day, 14 July. Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat and leader of the socialist caucus, the second biggest in the parliament, moved yesterday to bar him from the role, aruing that it would be unseemly for a "Holocaust denier" to open the new parliament.

 

Ian Traynor in Strasbourg

Thursday 26 March 2009

The Guardian

10.4.09


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