Marine Le Pen and her Front National party are together riding a cresting wave of support in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Latest polling shows the FN is on course to govern three French regions for the first time.
French corruption came back with the return of Sarkozy, trailing his involvement in a total of six criminal investigations, and ignoring the fact that 66 per cent of the electorate hoped that he would not make a comeback. During his five years in office he had conspicuously failed to implement his election program — the limitation of trade-union power and the modernization of the national economy.
Despite all this, corrupt Sarko was ready for more. First he managed to get himself elected as UMP president, which enabled him to cancel the regulation that the party president could not stand as a candidate in the national elections. Then he renamed the party; it is now called ‘Les Républicains’, a slick move which has let him adopt a notably proprietorial air at party rallies.
The first test for the new party will be the regional elections due in December, when the question of immigration is likely to dominate the campaign. The only political group in France with a consistent line on the subject is of course the Front National. Marine Le Pen reacted angrily to the news that Brussels was suggesting an allocation of 24,000 mainly Syrian refugees for France. In a speech in Marseilles, one of her party’s strongholds, she described immigrants as a burden who are stimulating the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in France. She accuses Merkel of being largely responsible for the current crisis, pointing out that the Merkel’s welcoming reaction was deliberately inciting more immigrants to travel to Europe. ‘No doubt she hopes to cure Germany’s stagnant population growth by continuing to use massive immigration as a source of slave labor,’ adds Le Pen.
Le Pen is now the overwhelming favorite to capture north-western France and the Marseille-Nice region in elections set for the next two weekends, according to polls published yesterday. Such is the backing for the party that it might harvest as many votes as its conservative and centrist rivals combined.
The FN is also running neck-and-neck with Les Républicains in the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.
A series of regional polls show the FN gaining between 4 and 7 per cent compared to similar polls before the terrorist assault on Paris.
The FN has never won a regional government before. The regional elections are the first political test for French President Francois Hollande since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. With the country reeling from that violence and grappling with border controls, FN candidates are showing a significant increase in support across the country.
Asked about the photograph of the drowned body of a three-year-old Kurdish boy, a Front National spokesman remained unmoved. He said that it was an attempt to make the French feel guilty and added that he could not see how the imposition of quotas would have prevented this drowning. In December, Marine Le Pen’s candidates will campaign to repeal the Schengen agreement on border controls within the EU, cancel the traditional right to citizenship of all those born on French soil, cancel free health cover for illegal immigrants, and limit the right to political asylum by confining it to victims of political persecution and excluding victims of war.
Marine Le Pen’s views cannot be brushed aside as extreme. The majority of French opinion is hostile to the mass admission of refugees, and she is currently the favorite to win the first round of the 2017 presidential elections. Having at last expelled her 87-year-old father from the party on the grounds of his anti-Semitism, she has successfully formed several electoral pacts with Républicain candidates in the region of Provence and Côte d’Azur, and she has been building bridges with right-wing Catholic voters. The Bishop of Toulon has approved this initiative, describing Marine Le Pen’s Front National as ‘just another political party’.
The question of how to deal with the Front National has been a long-standing source of division among the Républicains. The argument is between those who believe that the best way of diminishing Front National votes is to cherry-pick its policies, and those who prefer to boycott the extreme right and attract votes from the centre. The leaders of the Républicains are careful to avoid Marine Le Pen’s coarse language, but in some cases their policies on immigration are not that different. One prominent Républicain, the former minister of agriculture Bruno Le Maire, has suggested that all foreigners whose papers are stamped with an ‘S’ (meaning ‘under surveillance for terrorist associations’) should be expelled — a step that would entail the instant removal of more than 5,000 people.
Sarkozy, who has always favored chasing the hard-right vote, also wants to take France out of the current Schengen agreement. In addition he has demanded the militarization of Europe’s external frontiers, and has urged the immediate and permanent closure of all mosques used by fundamentalist preachers. ‘Immigrants have to adapt to France, and not vice-versa’ is his version of the multicultural society. He has further rejected the idea of European immigration quotas and agrees that they are making the problem worse by attracting more immigrants.
France has been the architect of the Muslim invasion of Europe ever since opening its borders, under de Gaulle, to millions of North African Arabs. France has been the instigator of Eurabia, metamorphosed of late as the hopefully-named Mediterranean Co-prosperity Sphere. France is where pogroms of Jews and cartoonists are the norm, Marseille might as well be in Morocco, 1,000 infidels’ cars are torched each year as a Muslim celebration of the Winter Holiday, and productive citizens pay a 75% marginal income tax rate while half of France’s at-least seven million Muslims live on public welfare. France sued Brigitte Bardot five times for inciting racial hatred, and is now suing Marine Le Pen for racism because she criticizes the vast expanse of upturned Muslim posteriors occupying many a public square and church plaza in her country five times a day. It’s that France that’s now pushing suicide-by-Muslim-refugees on the whole of Europe.
The polls show a slight improvement in the centre-left vote – but not the lift in approval and solidarity with President Hollande’s handling of the crisis that the government had hoped for.
The FN would get 28 per cent of votes in the first round of elections starting Saturday, the same as a combination of parties including the Republicans and the centrist MoDem.
The Socialists would get 22 per cent, with as many as 54 per cent of voters abstaining, according to the survey.
We had reported on Le Pen’s growing appeal even before the Paris terrorists attacks. She has been warning of the consequences of open-ended migration from the Middle East and what it will mean not just for the future of France but all of Europe.
She says: “The absolute rejection of Islamic fundamentalism must be proclaimed loudly and clearly” and voters are listening in ever increasing numbers.
Le Pen would become a representative for the North Pas de Calais-Picardie region if the latest polls prove correct. Her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, is the party’s candidate to lead the Provence-Côte d’Azur region.