Regional elections: National Front fails to win any regions

The National Front (FN) on Sunday night failed to win a single region, after leading in six of 13 French regions in the first round of regional elections one week earlier.

There will be no further nationwide elections in France until the May 2017 presidential contest. Sunday’s poll was seen as a rehearsal for 2017.

The FN claims to be France’s “first party” and often leads in the first round, as it did on December 6th, with 27.8 per cent of the vote. But unlike the ruling socialist party (PS) and Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative “Les Républicains” (LR), the FN has no allies or reserve voters to bolster its score in the run-off.

Exit polls showed the FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen, won 42 per cent of the vote in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, compared to 58 per cent for the LR candidate Xavier Bertrand. Le Pen thanked her voters “for rejecting intimidation, infantilisation and manipulation” by the socialist government.

Prime minister Manuel Valls had warned of a risk of “civil war” if the FN won the elections. He called on socialists to vote for LR candidates in the three regions where the FN looked likely to win, and where LR was ahead of the PS in the first round. Sarkozy refused to reciprocate, reiterating his policy of “neither nor” – neither FN nor PS.

With left-wing support, the LR appears to have won seven of 13 regions, while the PS won six. The socialists held 21 of 22 regions under the previous system.

Ms Le Pen said the “worryingly irresponsible” rhetoric of Valls and the socialist speaker of the National Assembly Claude Bartolone showed “the dangerous drift of a dying regime,” that a “campaign of calumny and defamation” was “decided in the golden palaces of the republic and carried out in a servile way by those who live off the system”.

She noted that the FN’s score in the second round of regional elections rose from 9.17 per cent in 2010 to 30 percent on Sunday, “confirming as EU and departmental elections showed the inexorable rise of the FN, election after election”.

Marion Maréchal Le Pen lost the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region to the LR candidate, Christian Estrosi, a close ally of Mr Sarkozy, by 45 to 55 per cent.

In Alsace-Champagne-Ardennes-Lorraine, Marine Le Pen’s right-hand man, Florian Philippot lost with 36.4 per cent of the vote to 48.8 per cent for the LR candidate Philippe Richert. Jean-Pierre Masseret, the socialist candidate who defied Valls’s order to withdraw from the race, won only 15.2 per cent.

Valls said voters “responded to the very clear, very courageous appeal of the left to block the path of the extreme right, which won no region”. The results were a lesson to politicians “to end little political games, invective, sectarianism”, he said. Le Pen said the results proved “the secret ties between those who pretend to oppose each other but in reality share power without ever solving your problems”.

National Front candidate calls to eliminate “Islam and Muslims”

(Photo: Reuters)
As local elections approach, the National Front continues to support its candidates whose rhetoric is openly anti-Muslim. Marine Le Pen has shown little intention to exclude Chantal Clamer from the running. (Photo: Reuters)

As local elections approach, the National Front continues to support its candidates whose rhetoric is openly anti-Muslim. Marine Le Pen has shown little intention to exclude Chantal Clamer from the running.

Clamer is the FN hopeful in Ariège, who is not averse to using “despicable slogans” in order to gain votes in local elections.

In a recent social media posting Clamer described Islam as the “bubonic plague of the 21st century,” saying it, “has to be fought, to be eliminated without hesitation by all possible means.” She also made controversial comments about lesbians in an earlier post, saying: “These dirty butches are really ugly.” The tweets remain posted and screenshots of her comments have been circulating on the web.

In response, Marine Le Pen issued a statement saying Clamer’s comments were “extremely clumsy and reckless” and that Clamer “was wrong in creating a misconception.” “We made her understand that she went too far, and she acknowledged that she had,” said Le Pen.

Le Pen wants collaborate with Geert Wilders

Le Monde

 

15.09.2013

 

In a recent interview with the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing party Front Nationale (FN), expressed her wish to collaborate with the Dutch right-wing party, Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, for the upcoming European election campaign. Le Pen intents to shows right-wing voters in Europe that xenophobic and racist national movements, which she terms as ‘patriotic’, aren’t isolated but exist in every EU member state. Both parties are infamous for their anti-immigrant, islamophobic and pro-white Christian rhetoric.

 

Despite the many similarities, however, the leader of the FN acknowledges differences with Wilders in regards to the subject of Muslims and Islam. In her view, she has “nothing against the religion itself”, but is predominantly concerned and against the “influ of Muslim immigrants and the visibility of Islam in society”. Wilders, the author of the controversial Islam critical film “Fitna”, on the other hand is all together against the prohibition of the Quran which he compares to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.

“The problem with Islam is not the religion but its visibility”

Zaman France

03.04.2013

Marie Le Pen, the President of the French far-right party Front National (FN), expressed in an interview with Zaman France her discontent with Islam and France’s Muslim community.  Contrary to accusations of being islamophobic, Le Pen considers her party to be a defender of secularism and France’s Christian traditions. She argues that France’s Muslim community is in its majority of immigrant background and thus needs to confirm with France’s rules and traditions instead of ‘imposing its own’. She defies the Muslim hijab, halal food requirements and  Muslim calls for prayers as being incompatible with French culture.  The visibility of Islamic cultures and traditions is according to her the real source of contention for her and her followers.

She further encourages the assimilation of Muslims into French culture and identity, which she considers to be a proud culture that has to be primary and not secondary. Instead of placing religion prior to their nationality, Muslims should put more emphasis upon their national identity and citizenship than their faith in their identity production, Le Pen argues.

Normalization of the extreme-right in France

Le Monde

06.02.2013

A new joint survey published by France Info, Le Monde and Canal Plus illustrates the normalisation of the Front national (FN) amongst the French. The study conducted by TNS Sofres exemplifies the change of perception about the French right-wing party over a period of 30 years in France.

The poll reveals that today 47% of respondents “don’t consider the party to pose a threat for democracy” anymore. In another poll conducted in 1990, 70% of respondents still perceived the right wing party to be of danger for French democracy.  The numbers strongly indicate to a normalisation of the FN amongst the French population. It further underlines the mainstreaming of right wing ideologies amongst conservative voters. Accordingly, 54% of UMP voters do not consider the FN to be a threat anymore. Whereas the number of adherence of FN ideals has stayed relatively equal (32%), 63% of participants however said to disagree with the overall policies of the extreme right.

The crucial role of the new leader of the Front national, Marie Le Pen, in the process of normalising and popularising right wing politics becomes evident in the following numbers: whilst in 2012 41% of respondents said that the leader of the party is the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values” instead of a leader of the “an extreme nationalist and xenophobic right”, a year later, 44% participants support such views. According to Le Monde, this hasn’t been the case during the long reign of Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, over the party.

Moreover, 54% of UMP voters consider the current leader to be the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values”. Left wing voters on the other hand reject to 83% the policies of the FN, amongst the Front de gauche supporters it’s even 86%.

Right wing ideas are accordingly most strongly supported by French with little or no education: 42% of workers, 34% of clerks, 41% of the rural population 36% of the rurban population and 38% of the suburban population identify with FN policies. Those who finished higher education and hold further degrees (79%) are the ones that reject right wing ideas the most including those who live in urban centres, specifically large metropolises, as well as academics (85%).

The poll illustrates how right wing politics have been normalised over several decades in France. The integration of right wing parties and policies into the spectrum of mainstream politics indicates the positive revaluation of the right wing ideology and its representatives, the FN, in French politics. No more is the right confined to a state of pariahhood, but has seemingly arrived in the centre of French politic as well as gained the status of socio-political acceptability in France.

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen said to be new leader of the French National Front Party

France’s far right National Front has chosen Marine Le Pen as its new leader, replacing her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, party officials say. The results will be officially announced on January 16, but party sources said she had secured about two-thirds of members’ votes. Mr Le Pen is stepping down after leading the ultra-nationalist party, which he founded, for almost 40 years.

The FN, with its anti-immigration agenda has been shunned by France’s main parties. But Ms Le Pen has said she wants to break with its xenophobic, anti-Islam image and is confident the FN can become part of mainstream politics. A recent poll suggested the party could come third in the presidential elections to be held in 2012.

Le maire MPF d’Orange veut interdire le voile islamique dans sa commune

Le maire d’Orange Jacques Bompard, ex-Front-National, et adh_rent du Mouvement pour la France (MPF) a sollicit_ le p_fet du Vaucluse en vue de “l’interdiction du port du voile islamique” dans sa commune, dans un courrier rendu public mercredi. “J’ai l’honneur par la pr_sente de solliciter les serices de la pr_fecture afin d’_tudier en commun la mise en place sur la commune d’Orange, et notamment dans les _tablissements publics, d’une interdiction du port du voile islamique et autres tenus apparent_es”, _crit le maire d’Orange dans cette lettre adress_e au pr_fet du Vaucluse. La pr_fecture a indiqu_ mercredi _ l’AFP qu’elle ne commentait pas “par principe, les rapports entre _lus et le pr_fet, y compris par voie de presse”. Dans sa lettre, M. Bompard qui a adh_r_ au MPF en d_cembre 2005, apr_s son exclusion du bureau politique du FN, estime qu’il ‘appartient au maure d’une commune, d_mocratiquement _lu par les citoyens, et au repr_sentant de l’Etat dans un d_partement, d’agir en concertation afin d’enrayer ce qui constitue une v_ritable atteinte aux principes de la R_publique fran_aise, _ la dignit_ des femmes et aux coutumes de notre pays”. “Or, ce n’est pas _ la France de s’adapter au voile islamique (…). Ce sont aux tenants de ces traditions religieuses de s’adapter _ la France, _ la R_publique, aux lois et coutumes fran_aises”, _crit encore l’_lu vauclusien.

On the right, the supporters of the Front National are more tolerant than those of the UMP with regards to the veil

In an opinion poll of 1,011 people representative of the French population, 44% reported that they favored a prohibition of the Islamic veil in streets and public buildings. 17% were “very favorable” and 27% “rather favorable”. 21% were “very opposed,” and the rest (35%) were “rather opposed.” The question, however, has two parts: whether the veil should be prohibited in public buildings (post offices, universities, etc.), and whether the veil should be prohibited in the street. If these two questions were separated, the response to the poll might have been different. Breakdown of the poll results by party: On the right: Movement for France (MPF): 59% in favor of the prohibition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP): 53% in favor Front National (FN): 40% in favor This relatively low level of support among the conserviatve FN can be interpreted in a number of ways. It could be a way of saying that the veil is not the problem – foreigners should return home, not integrate into French society. On the left: Communist Party: 48% in favor of the prohibition Greens: 39% in favor Socialists: 36% in favor Notably, not one of the individuals polled refused to answer the question.