Le Pen plans European Parliament far-right bloc

27th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 27 (AFP) - French extremist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen said Tuesday he was mulling the formation of an alliance with other far-right parties in the European Parliament after elections in June.

PARIS, April 27 (AFP) - French extremist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen said Tuesday he was mulling the formation of an alliance with other far-right parties in the European Parliament after elections in June.

Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN) party known for its radical anti-immigration stance, made a visit at the weekend to Wales to support his political counterpart in Britain, the fringe British National Party.

The FN holds only five seats in the European Parliament, the EU body which is elected by popular vote and currently has 625 deputies. The party halved its numbers in the last vote in 1999, after winning 10 seats in 1994.

In the upcoming European vote, Le Pen told journalists that the FN would get "at least 12 people elected, and probably 14 or 15".

He said the incoming deputies could then ally with other nationalist groups, including the Dutch Vlaams Blok, unspecified Polish and British parties, as well as groups from the former National Alliance in Italy.

Le Pen said he would also visit the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which will join the European Union on Saturday, to meet with fellow far-right politicians.

The far-right leader, who was disqualified as a candidate for French regional elections last month, stunned France in 2002 by making it to the final run-off in the 2002 presidential election, only to be defeatd by incumbent Jacques Chirac.

Since that breakthrough, the FN has sought to style itself as a potential party of government, rather than a protest movement.

As part of its EU agenda, the FN has voiced opposition to Turkey's entry into the bloc and is running candidates in the European parliamentary elections under the campaign slogan "For France, make people respect you".

© AFP

                                             Subject: French news

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