The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Far Right Has Strong Showing in Socialist France

MarineLePen

According to a new survey by BFM TV, a French station, nearly one in two French voters (46%) think Marine Le Pen is the best opposition candidate to take on the ruling Socialist party. That’s a lot of support for a far right politician who once compared Muslim blocking French streets during prayer times to the Nazi occupation of France in WWII

The poll wasn’t asking respondents for the politician they’d like to see become president, and it wasn’t asking which politician they like the most. The 46 percent were saying Marine Le Pen is the best opponent to the ruling Socialist Party. Still, that’s quite a lot of support for someone so controversial.

Le Pen frequently courts controversy. She’s been called racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim. But she remains popular. Her party recently won a small election in southern France where disillusionment with Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party runs strong.

Le Pen’s popularity could have repercussions beyond France’s borders. She and Geert Wilders, a far-right politician in the Netherlands, are exploring the possibility of creating a pan-European Eurosceptic movement. “With far-right or populist parties across Europe threatening to create upsets in next May’s European elections, Mr Wilders and Ms Le Pen believe that the time is right to form an anti-European alliance,” the Independent reports. As Le Pen herself recently said, the EU is a “global anomaly” that will, someday, “collapse like the Soviet Union.”

One interesting thing to note: the UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), a British anti-EU party, is refusing to join hands with Le Pen and her aspiring pan-European grouping of anti-Europeanists. Le Pen’s brand of populist nationalism doesn’t seem to travel well over La Manche.

The National Front faces very long odds when it comes to gaining power at the national level, but local and European elections are a different story. Voters use these elections to send the political establishment a message, and a protest party like the Front can do very well in them. In Brussels, the eurocrats fear that a wave of anti-EU feeling across the continent could send a large bloc of anti-EU candidates to the European Parliament in 2014. This would make it even harder for Brussels to get things done.

[Marine Le Pen photo courtesy of Kenji-Baptiste OIKAWA]

Published on October 19, 2013 3:15 pm
  • wigwag

    Does anyone know whether the European Parliament has any role in approving the person selected to be the The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy?

    Personally I would be happy to see hundreds of aspiring Genghis Khans elected to the European Parliament if it would only mean that the insufferable Right Honourable Baroness Ashton of Upholland would be thrown out of office on her keister.

    Lady Ashton is so incompetent that she makes the clueless American President and his knucklehead of a Secretary of State look good by comparison.

    Elect the far right; elect the far left or anyone in between. Do whatever it takes to remove Ashton from the worlds television sets and newspapers.

    The Queen must have been tipsy the day she decided to make Ashton a peer.

    When it comes to international relations, the Baroness is a walking disaster.

  • Stacy Garvey

    UKIP gets treated very badly by the establishment UK press but isn’t nearly as anti-immigrant as Le Pen. UKIP’s position is that the UK’s immigration policy is awful but is careful to not engage in outright racism.

    • Bruce

      I don’t understand why it’s considered racist to attack a religion that oppresses women. It seems to me they would be fair game.

  • jeburke

    I think it’s wrong — and misleading — to call these more or less nationalist parties “far right.” Where on the spectrum might neo-fascists lie if LePen is “far right?” I don’t pretend to be intimately familiar with French politics but I have the impression that LePen voters are a lot like the voters who held down the conservative end of the Gaullists of the 60s and 70s.

  • Bruce

    They need to find a way to “make it even harder for Brussels to get things done.” The EU is self-serving and the pols have convinced their low information voters that it was formed to “prevent wars.” It was formed to accumulate power, perqs and wealth. When it implodes, it will take the Euro with it and then Greece will have a chance when it goes back to the drachma. Although the politicians fighting the EU are imperfect, this is a fight that needs to occur and maybe the people will turn to those who had the foresight to fight it when the EU crashes. They may turn to dictators instead.

  • lukelea

    Maybe if there were a respectable opponent of immigration. Is that asking too much?

    • Moneyrunner

      Racist! (See how easy that is?)

    • Nate Whilk

      To leftists, “respectable” and “opponent of immigration” are mutually exclusive.

      • xbox361

        exactly the problem, they want to shut down discussion and eliminate debate.

  • LouAnnWatson

    after having seen the impotent socialist government of france deal with the Muslim riots of past years, it’s no surprise that this is turning. the public is realizing they have been sold a diversity bill of goods and have been swindled…they’ll lose their country soon if they do not turn s corner.

  • LouAnnWatson

    far right in europe is moderate compared to our political climate.

    • xbox361

      you are joking, right?
      wanting to balance the budget = fascism?

  • Moneyrunner

    Look, WRM has a reputation to maintain with the PC enforcers, so he has to call people that oppose the European status quo the “far right.” I’m fairly sure he probably believes it; PC attitudes are internalized by most people.

    • xbox361

      and le pen would sue him for it.
      it is a slander to say far right but never far left.
      wanting to maintain national identity as opposed to multicultural suicide?
      priceless.
      ballots are better than bullets.
      respect the voters’ choice over our prejudices.