France's National Front number two quits; far-right opposition in turmoil

Member of the European Parliament Florian Philippot

French National Front's Philippot Quits Party Over Disagreement With Le Pen AFP 2017 PATRICK KOVARIK

"I have no taste for doing nothing, so of course I am leaving the Front National".

"The great enterprise of refounding the national movement to which I invite you ... but also all French people, is inspired only by duty: the duty to take action and to win so that France can remain France for its children and for the world", Le Pen told supporters September 9 in the village of Brachay, according to Deutsche Presse Agentur.

The squabbles between the two vice-presidents had been shaking the party for some time.

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Philippot is seen as the champion of the party's opposition to the euro and its pledges to quit the shared currency - one of the policies believed to have badly damaged Marine Le Pen in the May election where she was beaten by centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen, who just previous year spoke of having an "intellectual crush" on Philippot, responded tersely that the FN would have no problems of getting over his departure. It has played out on TV in numerous interviews by Philippot and party officials.

She also confirmed she will continue to campaign against the European Union and for national sovereignty. "It's ideal", he said in reaction to Philippot's departure.

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He said he feared the FN was making a "terrible backward slide" towards its hard-line past.

Philippot joined the party in 2011 and rose quickly to become Le Pen's chief adviser. But with the creation of his association, "there was a strategy to raise tensions ..." Their embrace of a statist, socially left-wing and anti-EU platform was increasingly out of touch with the party's base in the run-up to the election, and was in open conflict with it afterward.

Le Pen recently gave Philippot an ultimatum to leave the group's presidency. But the shadow of a potential schism fell over him. "All those who have taken this road and led a solitary adventure have disappeared", Le Pen said.

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Louis Aliot departs Florian Philippot and gets cropped by Marine Le PenThe departure of Florian Philippot made the effect of an quake at the FN this Thursday, September 21. She is heading into a party congress early next year in her most fragile position since taking over leadership of the Front from her father in 2011, with the only comfort being that there are no clear contenders for her seat. "But most will be relieved".

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