France: Far-Right National Front Gains Steam in Elections
Posted on: 2010-03-15 18:07:03
PM Sarkozy's soft-right party set for a drubbing
All but crushed after the 2007 presidential elections, the National Front, or FN, confounded polling predictions to reap almost 12 per cent of the national vote.
Mr Sarkozy’s Right-wing UMP group scored a worse-than-expected 26.18 per cent and is heading for a drubbing in next Sunday's runoff.The opposition Socialists came in first with 29.48 per cent of the vote and are expected to join forces with the green-minded Europe Ecologie party, which came third with 12.7 per cent.
But the FN result was Sunday night’s biggest surprise, coming in the wake of a year-long recession in France and a regional campaign in which Mr Sarkozy’s camp has repeatedly beaten the drum of national identity and immigration.
Mr Le Pen, 81, who founded the FN in 1972 and is probably fighting his last electoral battle was jubilant after Sunday’s result.
“The National Front was declared beaten, dead, buried by the president,” Mr Le Pen said late on Sunday.
“This shows that it is still a national force, and probably destined to become
greater and greater.”