Jean-Francois Jalkh, Ms Le Pen’s stand-in as party leader of the Front National has had to step down because of holocaust-denying remarks he made in 2000.
The belief that is being talked about in the media is that it’s going to work against her. The belief is that people who might have voted for her will shy away because the real bared teeth behind the smile has been revealed. The belief is that people will shy away from voting for someone who is connected to, appointed, a man who is one step away from being a nazi.
Yes it’s hard to imagine the Le Pen did not know about the remarks that Jalkh made in 2000. She is, after all, the leader of a major political party – all these potentially embarrassing things are recorded, noted down, kept by the functionaries of the party so that they can rebut them or avoid embarrassment or whatever, aren’t they? Surely that is how it is? She cannot have been so inept as to let this slip past her and her party without notice? Surely?
So let’s suppose that she knew exactly what she was doing when she appointed Jalkh. Let’s suppose she knew the mention of the remarks he made would come out. Let’s be outlandish and even suppose she encouraged the remarks being made public.
Why? Well, maybe she wants to signal to those who worry that her party is going soft, that they can safely vote for her because underneath the smiles she and her party are still the same hardline extreme right wing party that they were under her father’s leadership.