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article imageWilders dismisses ally Le Pen's 'ridiculous' ebola comment

By AFP     May 22, 2014 in World

Dutch populist Geert Wilders on Thursday dismissed as "ridiculous" a comment by his political ally French far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen that the ebola virus could address Europe's immigration "problem".

"I don’t agree with it. I think it was a ridiculous remark," the platinum-haired anti-immigration politician said shortly after casting his ballot in European parliamentary elections in a Hague suburb.

"I’m happy not he, but Mrs (Marine) Le Pen is in charge of the National Front (FN) today," Wilders told journalists in English, highlighting tensions with his Party for Freedom's ally in the European election.

Health workers with 'Doctors without Borders' remove the body of a person killed by Ebola ...
Health workers with 'Doctors without Borders' remove the body of a person killed by Ebola during an outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever in Guekedou, Guinea, on April 1, 2014
Seyllou, AFP/File

Le Pen on Wednesday downplayed the comment he made earlier this week when he was overheard by journalists claiming that it was never too late to fight immigration and that "Monseigneur Ebola could take care of it in three months."

The quote was widely picked up by French media and embarrassed Marine Le Pen, the current head of the far-right FN, who has made it a priority to shake off her father's longtime reputation for racism and offensive verbal flourishes.

Jean-Marie Le Pen is the honorary president of the National Front and is standing in this week's European parliamentary elections.

Fact file on the Ebola virus
Fact file on the Ebola virus
, Graphics/AFP

The anti-Islam Wilders and French far-right leader Le Pen late last year announced what they called a "historic" alliance to fight the European elections and form a bloc in Brussels.

But Wilders' comment highlighted tensions between the right-wing eurosceptic parties wanting to destroy the European Union from within.

British anti-EU and anti-immigration leader Nigel Farage, who leads the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has repeatedly ruled out joining the group, saying the FN was too tainted by anti-Semitism.

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