France’s Armed Forces minister is furious after hundreds of retired solders pledge to support far-right presidential candidate Marine le Pen
- Hundreds of retired soldiers have pledged to support Marine Le Pen
- It promoted a furious raction from France’s Armed Forces minister
- Florence Parly was concerned about an open letter calling for clampdown
France‘s Armed Forces minister reacted with fury tonight after hundreds of retired soldiers pledged to support Marine Le Pen in the fight against ‘the disintegration’ of their country and the threat of ‘civil war’.
Florence Parly said a coalition between politicised former military personnel and the far-Right presidential candidate would be an outrage.
Ms Parly was particularly concerned about an open letter in the latest edition of Valeurs Actuelles (Current Values) magazine, in which ex-generals are among those calling for a clampdown on ‘Islamism and the suburban hordes.’
Florence Parly, pictured, said a coalition between politicised former military personnel and the far-Right presidential candidate would be an outrage
It suggests that a military coup d’état might be necessary to stop a ‘civil war’ with communities from immigrant backgrounds, and especially Muslim ones.
Ms Parly said: ‘The irresponsible column published in Current values is only signed by retired soldiers, who no longer have any function in our armies and only represent themselves.’
Expressing her anger further on Twitter, Ms Parly said ‘neutrality and loyalty’ were two principles that were crucial to military conduct.
Ms Le Pen, the leader of the notoriously anti-immigration and anti-Muslim Rassemblement National (National Rally), has welcomed the veterans’ support since the letter was published.
If Le Pen was to replace Emmanuel Macron as President of France following elections next year, she would become head of the country’s Armed Forces.
‘Madame Le Pen’s words reflect a serious misunderstanding of the military institution,’ said Ms Parly. Ms Parly said this was ‘worrying for anyone who wants to become head of the Armed Forces.’
Ms Parly continued. ‘The politicisation of the Armed Forces suggested by Madame Le Pen would weaken our military capability and therefore France.
‘The military are not there to campaign, but to defend France and protect the French.’
The Valeurs Actuelles letter was written by Jean-Pierre Fabre-Bernadac, a former officer, and signed by some 120 former senior staff, and 1000 others who were in lower ranks.
In what sounds like the threat of a coup d’état, they say their ‘active comrades’ may have to take part in a ‘perilous mission to protect our civilizational values and safeguard our compatriots on the national territory.
‘As we can see, there is no more time to procrastinate, otherwise, tomorrow the civil war will put an end to this growing chaos, and the deaths, for which you will bear the responsibility, will number in the thousands..’
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the notoriously anti-immigration and anti-Muslim Rassemblement National (National Rally), has welcomed the veterans’ support since the letter was published
After the Valeurs Actuelle letter was published, Ms Le Pen said: ‘As a citizen and as a politician, I subscribe to your analysis and share your grief.’
In a direct rallying cry to the old soldiers, Ms Le Pen said: ‘I invite you to join our action to take part in the battle which is opening, which is certainly a political and peaceful battle, but which is above all the battle of France.’
France’s current Fifth Republic has been threatened by military coups in the past, notably by far-Right activists who were eventually defeated as they tried to keep the former North African colony of Algeria.
There are some five million Muslims in France – the largest community of its kind in western Europe – and many have backgrounds in former colonies, such as Algeria.
The Rassemblement National used to be called the Front National (National Front), and was founded by Ms Le Pen’s father, the convicted anti-Semite, racist and Islamophobe, Jean-Marie Le Pen.