The Latest: French far-right member suspended - InfoNews

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The Latest: French far-right member suspended

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 file picture French far-right leader and National Front party president, Marine Le Pen, addresses the media during a news conference, in Lille, northern France. Marine Le pen will propose a name change for the National Front at this weekend's party congress to symbolize an identity makeover designed to lift the party from the political netherworld where it has dwelled since Le Pen's calamitous loss in France's presidential election 10 months ago. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
March 11, 2018 - 1:44 PM

PARIS - The Latest on the party congress of France's far right National Front (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

A young man appointed by far-right leader Marine Le Pen as an "ambassador" to the National Front congress has been temporarily suspended during an investigation of racist remarks he allegedly made to a black man.

Davy Rodriguez tweeted on Sunday that he "formally denies racist remarks ascribed to me."

The incident became public on the final day of a two-day congress aimed at re-building the anti-immigration party. Le Pen has worked to erase the party's racism and anti-Semitic stigma.

Party spokesman Sebastien Chenu said Sunday on CNews that Rodriguez was being suspended "so light can be shed and he gives us his explanation."

A video on social networks showed an agitated man identified as Rodriguez being calmed. In another video, a black man recounts racial insults he said were proffered.


4:40 p.m.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has proposed changing the name of the National Front party co-founded by her father to National Rally.

Her renaming proposal culminated Le Pen's closing speech at the party's two-day congress in Lille, the capital of the National Front's northern heartland.

Le Pen said the name the party has had since its 1972 founding is linked to a "glorious" past, but serves as a psychological barrier for potential new members and voters.

The new name must be approved by members in a mail vote.

It is part of a broader makeover Le Pen hopes will help boost the party to power. Le Pen has worked since taking over in 2011 to remove the stigma of racism and anti-Semitism attached to the National Front.


11:10 a.m.

France's far-right National Front party has definitively severed its ties to firebrand founder Jean-Marie Le Pen as it tries to revive its fortunes.

The party also re-elected his daughter, Marine Le Pen, to a new term as president at party congress where she was its only candidate for the post. A new 100-member governing council was also named.

The party tweeted Sunday that more than 79 per cent of members who participated in a vote approved new party statutes that included abolishing Jean-Marie Le Pen's position of party president for life.

The party expelled him in 2015 over anti-Semitic remarks but he kept the honorary position. Sunday's vote is a crushing blow for the 89-year-old, who founded the party in 1972 and was runner-up in the 2002 French presidential election.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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