NANTERRE, France (Reuters) - Marine Le Pen should step down as leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN) after disappointing results in the presidential and parliamentary elections, her father who founded the anti-establishment party said on Tuesday.
“You outlive your usefulness when you start harming your party by your policy stances or your stubbornness,” the 89-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen told reporters after he was locked out of a party meeting.
Asked if she should quit he said: “Yes, I think so.”
Relations between Le Pen senior and his daughter have soured since she kicked him out of the party in 2015 for comments minimizing the holocaust, and their very public rows have in the past harmed the party’s image.
Marine Le Pen had said her father would not be welcome at the meeting of the party’s leadership. He arrived with a bailiff and lawyer, to get testimony of the fact that the gates were locked up by chains to prevent his entry.
“I’m too old to climb up over gates,” he said, after describing his daughter’s showing in the second round of the presidential election and the party’s parliamentary results as “scathing failures”.
Marine Le Pen reached the second round of the presidential election, capturing the support of voters increasingly disillusioned with mainstream parties, but was soundly beaten by centrist Emmanuel Macron in the run-off.
In the legislative poll, her party scooped up eight seats in the 577-seat chamber, a four-fold increase on the previous parliament but much less than it hoped for and not enough to form a parliamentary group.
Le Pen has made large strides to detoxify the anti-semitic, xenophobic image the National Front held under her father’s leadership. It remains staunchly anti-EU, anti-immigration.
Reporting by Simon Carraud; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Lough