Marine Le Pen’s decision to step down as the leader of National Front has already proven to be a costly one.
Jean-Francois Jalkh replaced her less than a week ago and has already stepped down after comments he made about
the holocaust during a 2000 interview resurfaced, FN vice president Louis Aliot confirmed.
The interview was dug up by a journalist from La Croix newspaper and given to Le Monde.
Jalkh said he was not a holocaust denier but questioned the use of Zyklon B, the chemical used in the gas chambers.
He said: “I consider that from a technical standpoint it is impossible – and I stress, impossible – to use it in mass exterminations. Why? Because you need several days to decontaminate a space…where Zyklon B has been used.”
To add insult to injury these comments resurface the same day Le Pen’s opponent, Emmanuel Macron, was due to visit the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It is the site of the where 642 villagers were massacred by Nazis in 1944.
With the stakes higher than ever, Le Pen had decided to step down in order to focus on her campaign and to try and win over right-leaning voters.
She said in a statement:
“This evening, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the candidate for the French presidency. I will feel more free and above all, above party politics, which I think is important.”
This decision comes after the other two right-wing candidates endorsed centre candidate Emmanuel Macron after the first-round election results.
However, it is important to note that she is still campaigning on FN policies.
Early in the election she tried to drop the “Le Pen” from her campaign and asked voters to call her “Marine”. But that did not stick.
Her father made inflammatory remarks about the Nazi gas chambers and referred to them as a mere “detail” of history. He was also accused to torture during the Algerian War.
FN mayor of Henin-Beaumont in Northern France, Steeve Briois, will take Jalkh’s place.
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