The National Front has suspended its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in a dramatic climax to the war that pits the French far-right politician against his daughter and its current party leader, Marine.
The FN's executive committee, which convened on Monday to discuss sanctions against Mr Le Pen for his comments on Nazi gas chambers last month, decided that his role as honorary chairman should be suppressed, the party said in a statement. The plan, however, will be put to a final vote in a general assembly, which will take place within three months.
"With this prospect, the political committee will convene to elaborate and propose a more complete renovation of the National Front's bylaws," the party said. A party that is "modernised in its functioning and perfected in its structures" will be able to prepare for the next elections "in excellent conditions," it added.
The sanction is the latest development in a public row between the 86-year-old politician and his daughter, who succeeded her father in 2011. It has highlighted a fracture between the old guard and a new generation around Ms Le Pen, who has sought to tone down xenophobic rhetoric to capture a wider electorate.
Jean-Marie Le Pen called the FN's decision "felony" on Monday. "I don't acknowledge any link with someone who betrays me in such a scandalous manner," Mr Le Pen told Europe 1 radio station. "I am ashamed that the president of the National Front bears my name and I want her to lose it as soon as possible." He suggested she marry Louis Aliot, 45, or Florian Philippot, 33, two of the vice-presidents of the party.