Le Pen under pressure over ghost voting in European Parliament

2015-10-29 22:33
Marine Le Pen (AP)

Marine Le Pen (AP)

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Strasbourg - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen came under pressure on Thursday after another EU lawmaker voted on her behalf in the European Parliament, in violation of the legislature's rules.

An investigation has been launched and parliament President Martin Schulz will launch a sanction procedure, said Jaume Duch, a spokesperson for the legislature. Schulz will start by meeting the other far-right lawmaker, Dutch Marcel De Graaff.

Le Pen admitted that she had left her voting card in a terminal after stepping out of the parliament's plenary session on Wednesday, but denied that she had authorised De Graaff - who sat next to her - to cast four votes on her behalf.

"He committed here, it's true, a blunder," Le Pen told her fellow lawmakers on Thursday, while also arguing that it did not justify all "this drama".

"Mr de Graaf ... is the model of courtesy and ethics," she said, later adding after booing from her colleagues: "I will tell you one thing, my dear colleagues: he displayed - thinking that I was gone for a few seconds - a chivalrous spirit by which you should from time to time be inspired."

She also threatened to file a complaint against German EU lawmaker Manfred Weber, the leader of the parliament's conservative EPP faction, accusing him of defamation for having suggested wrongdoing on her part.

"What we have experienced here from the right is insolence that cannot be surpassed," Weber said.

Le Pen has had a fractious relationship with other parliamentarians who disapprove of her far-right and anti-EU views. Her National Front party and other anti-establishment groupings scored big gains in last year's European elections.

Read more on:    france

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