by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 21, 2017
One of the top aides to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen quit the National Front on Thursday, laying bare a split in the party over Europe following its election defeat this year.
Florian Philippot, the party's vice-president who spearheaded the drive to soften the party's image among voters, announced his departure on France 2 television after being stripped of key responsibilities by Le Pen.
"Listen, I don't like being ridiculed, I've never liked having nothing to do, so sure I'm quitting the National Front," he said.
Philippot said he believed that the party's plan to reposition itself after the disappointing presidential and parliamentary election results masked "a terrible backward slide" towards its hardline past.
"I saw how things were developing negatively these past weeks, that maybe I wouldn't have a place in the project (of Marine Le Pen for a renewal of the party) and thus they needed a pretext," said Philippot.
The 35-year-old had been on a collision course with the party leadership ever since the presidential election in May, won by Emmanuel Macron.
Many rivals in the party blame him for pushing for France to scrap the euro common currency -- a pledge that cost Le Pen crucial support -- and for shifting the FN's focus from immigration to economic nationalism.
In May, he created his own Patriots association, which some in the party saw as a future possible rival to the FN.
Accusing him of a conflict of interest, Le Pen on Wednesday took away his responsibility for strategy and communication, leaving him with no specific brief.
Hong Kong (AFP) July 31, 2017
A pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker who was recently removed from parliament after a Beijing intervention was cleared Monday of misconduct in a case he described as politically motivated. Leung Kwok-hung - known locally as "Long Hair" - is a veteran activist from the League of Social Democrats, and had been charged by the city's corruption bureau over a payment received while in public offi ... read more
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com
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