After making it through to the second round of the French presidential elections, the far right Marine Le Pen temporarily stepped down as leader of the Front National (National Front). Jean-François Jalkh took her place and managed to go only a week before reports were made public about his history of denying the Holocaust. From the Huffpost:
Jean-François Jalkh, her party’s newly appointed interim leader, lasted less than a week on the job. He stepped down suddenly on Friday as reports emerged that he once called the use of Nazi gas chambers during World War II “impossible” ― delivering yet another devastating setback to Le Pen’s election bid and her sweeping efforts to “de-demonize” the Front.
As if this were not bad enough, Jalkh’s replacement is perhaps even worse. Reported CNN:
Louis Aliot, Le Pen’s partner and spokesman, confirmed during an interview with BFM that Jalkh will be replaced by Steeve Briois, another party vice president.
Briois is currently facing charges of inciting racial hatred for a tweet that made a link between migrants and sexual assaults.
Le Pen herself has made comments that have angered the Jewish community, claiming France was not responsible for the round-up of Jews during World War II who were sent to their death in Nazi concentration camps, because she did not consider the Vichy government the real government at the time.
“I think that, generally speaking, if there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France,” she was quoted as saying.
All of the above does nothing to shake the image of the Front National being a deeply racist, xenophobic party stuck in the past and will compound Le Pen’s already serious demographic problems in the final round of the presidential election. Le Pen is trailing badly in the polls to her opponent Emmanuel Macron, and despite her attempts to distance herself from the racist roots of the party her father founded, the fact is that it is still packed from top to bottom with Holocaust denying anti-semites and bigots — not unlike its counterpart in the United States.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.