Despite their early rise in regional polls, the French National Front (FN) have been roundly routed in the elections, causing huge embarrassment for leader Marine le Pen as she sought to ramp up panic towards the French Muslim population.
After rejecting her Father’s candidature, the FN tried to find a moderate voice in order to pick up support from alienated republican and socialist voters. On top of the Paris attacks the party tried to paint itself as a voice of reason and common sense; for a while it seemed to work, but now, initial fears have been allayed. For now…
Commentators have said this morning that FN will not take this election lightly and will still want to go in all guns blazing for the French presidential election in 2017. While they failed to win control of any regions in the final round of local elections, they still won a record number of votes totaling at least 6.6m.
As Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters: “The danger of the far right has not been removed – far from it.”
And it ought to go without saying, but there a number of reasons to show why the party of Le Pen still cling on to their fascist past. Here are five reasons why we should still be worried about FN:
- The FN manifesto isn’t merely sceptical about the presence of certain immigrant populations, it talks clearly about a “reduction in five years of legal immigration and asylum seekers” as a “reaffirmation of our [French] republican model against Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism” [Source]
- The FN calls for legal immigration to be reduced from 200,000 a year to 10,000; an end to automatic “family unification”; the expulsion of illegal immigrants; and a suspension of the EU’s Schengen accords [Source]
- The FN continues to sit with a group of other “non-inscrit” parties in the European Parliament including the BNP and the Hungarian Far Right party Jobbik [Source]
- The party also calls for policies of “national preference” so that French people are given priority in job applications [Source]
- Family benefits, including child support, would only available to French families (or where at least one parent is French) under a “modernized” FN government [Source]
Just because FN failed to win control of any regions, their vote, and the increasing unpopularity of Hollande and the socialists, means that they’ll be expecting to make ground in 2017.
What’s more, they may have made efforts to rid themselves of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Neo-Nazism, but that’s an extraordinary low base. To say that they are better and more respectable now neglects context of how disgusting the FN were before.
The FN are still a threat, and still practice racialised politics which is rotten to the core. The French Left should not become complacent after last night’s result.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.