Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Europe
5 March 2011

The rise of the far right in France

Front National leader tops the latest poll.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

In a post last week about the travails of Nicolas Sarkozy, I mentioned the debate on the place of religion in France launched recently by the president, a move criticised on both left and right for “stigmatising” Islam. If Sarkozy’s intention in starting that conversation had been to drain support for the far-right Front National, it doesn’t seem to be working.

A poll measuring voting intentions in the first round of next year’s presidential election to be published tomorrow in Le Parisien, places FN president Marine Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie) in the lead with 23 per cent, followed by Sarkozy and the Socialist Martine Aubry neck and neck on 21 per cent.

Interviewed on the RTL radio station, former Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius attributed the increasing influence of the far right to the “themes for debate” chosen by Sarkozy. Aubry herself, who has yet to secure the Parti Socialiste’s nomination, said of Sarkozy: “Instead of rejoicing when the people of Egypt and Tunisia rise up for democracy, he sows fear among the French people, as if [events in the Middle East] would lead to hordes of new immigrants [coming to France]”.

Hat-tip: Arthur Goldhammer.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy