Le Pen, Jean-Marie

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Le Pen, Jean-Marie

Jean-Marie Le Pen (zhŏn´-märē´ lə pĕn, pŏN), 1928–, French politician. He graduated from law school, was elected (1956) a parliamentary deputy, and criticized President de Gaulle's Algerian policy. From 1972 to 2011 he led the extremely right-wing National Front. His views against immigration and his support for national defense aroused strong feelings in France, and he has been convicted and fined for remarks that minimized aspects of the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of France. His party won a number of seats in the National Assembly during the late 1980s. In the 1988 elections, however, the party was almost entirely unsuccessful; his presidential bid nonethelesss did receive four million votes. Le Pen became a member of the European parliament in 1984. He was stripped of his seat in 2000 as a result of his 1998 conviction for assaulting a rival politician, but it was later restored by the courts pending an appeal, which he lost in 2003. In the first round of the 2002 presidential election Le Pen edged out Premier Lionel Jospin to finish second behind President Jacques Chirac, but in the subsequent runoff Le Pen garnered only 18% of the vote. Le Pen placed fourth in the 2007 presidential election.

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