Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Dutch far-right MEP in hot water after voting for Le Pen

  • Le Pen: 'I am totally innocent in this affair' (Photo: European Parliament)

Marcel de Graaff, co-chair of the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group in the European Parliament, faces a possible sanction or fine after voting on behalf of the other co-chair of his group, Marine Le Pen. He is being accused of voting fraud.

On Thursday (29 October), Le Pen, leader of the French Front National, told French media that "it is true" that her Dutch colleague De Graaff had voted with her voting card, "without my permission".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • De Graaff could receive a reprimand, a fine, or a suspension. (Photo: European Parliament)

The possible voting fraud occurred on Wednesday (28 October) at a plenary voting session in Strasbourg. Members of the European Parliament vote either by show of hands, or electronically with a personal card.

MEPs have their own seats and several leave their voting cards behind. "I always leave my card there", said Le Pen.

At 14:14, the EP's official cameras showed Le Pen leaving the plenary room. But voting records indicate that after that time, votes were carried out in her name.

During the debate, an MEP from the centre-right EPP group took the floor to raise her suspicions to the chair of the meeting.

"I'm just noticing that Mrs Le Pen is not here, and I would like you to kindly check what is happening with her vote, and her neighbour", said Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt.

Later that day, EPP leader Manfred Weber, said his group had asked Parliament president Martin Schulz to launch an investigation into the "suspicion of fraud" by Le Pen.

The EPP, the largest political group in the parliament and one of the most pro-European, and the eurosceptic far-right ENF, the smallest group, often trade blows with each other.

The ENF was formed shortly before the summer, and is made up of 39 members: 21 from Front National, four from Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom, four Austrians, one Belgian, five Italians, two Polish, one Romanian, and one Briton.

Le Pen and De Graaff are co-chairs of the party, but while FN's leader Le Pen is considered a potential presidential candidate in France, Marcel de Graaff is an unknown political figure in the Netherlands, always in the shadow of party leader Wilders.

While Le Pen said De Graaff's intentions were out of "courtesy" and "chivalry", she clearly is not prepared to take the fall for him.

"I am totally innocent in this affair", she told French press, adding that it was "clumsy" of De Graaff.

Neither De Graaff nor Wilders have publicly responded to the affair.

De Graaff could receive a reprimand, a fine, or a suspension.

Earlier this week, two MEPs were suspended from the Parliament for ten days, for making Nazi salutes.

One of them, Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno, is a member of the ENF group, the other, Polish Janusz Korwin-Mikke, has no group affiliation.

Farage and Le Pen unite on Russia report

Britain’s Ukip and France’s National Front have teamed up with other anti-EU parties to vote against a Russia-critical resolution at the EU parliament.

Analysis

Suddenly, digital single market doesn't 'need' EU agency

EU digital commissioner Gabriel downplayed the rejection of the commission's plan for a strong EU telecommunications watchdog, highlighting that the elements of the digital single market are not set in stone.

News in Brief

  1. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  2. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  3. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  4. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  5. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal
  6. French government rules out Corsican autonomy
  7. Salmonella food poisoning on rise in Europe
  8. EU institutions agree to start talks on lobby register

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  2. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  3. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  4. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  5. Romania searching for EU respectability
  6. Last chance for Poland to return property to rightful owners
  7. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  8. VW to EU: We will fail on recall promise