France’s right wing National Front party is on course for an unprecedented victory in France’s regional elections Sunday, leading in 6 out of 12 regions in the first round of regional elections, Reuters reports citing exit polls. Le pen’s party is leading both the Republicans and the Socialists, according to an official, but still partial count.
Aided by the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attack, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party appears on the way to its best result since it was founded by Marine’s father, back in 1972.
Sunday’s election is for the presidencies of the Regions of France. The posts are not legislative, but they control large local budgets, and they’re weighed the way mid-term elections are considered in the US: the more posts the FN party collects, the better its leader’s chances are seen on the way to the 2017 presidential vote.
The Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie and the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur regions have been expected to go to the FN. But according to Business News, citing a new poll, the Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne region might also go with the National Front’s candidate, giving the party a huge gain. For one thing, in every one of the FN controlled regions, the profiles of Muslim and other foreign arrivals will be greatly reduced, with the right wing winners slashing their budgets mercilessly. This has been the FN’s practice in every municipal election where it has gained victory so far. Sunday’s results are not final, since France’s constitution requires public officials to win more than 50% of the vote, so the second round will be conducted a week from today.
But the FN is not only an anti-immigrant party. A resounding Le Pen victory could also spell the eventual termination of the European Union, since the FN is determined to pull France out, and has been urging the UK to do the same. Without these two key players, the EU will remain a largely German dominated federation, with few members of substantial industrial strength.
Le Pen has made many statements intended to cleanse her party of its reputation as a racist and anti-Semitic party. She told Jewish voters in 2014: “I will not stop repeating to French Jews, who are turning to us in increasing numbers, that not only is the National Front not your enemy, but it is without a doubt the best option to protect yourselves in the future… against the one true enemy, Islamist fundamentalists.”
Le Pen also supported the Jewish Defense League, following clashes with Arabs at synagogues in Paris and the northern suburb of Sarcelles. She said the JDL’s actions were legitimate “because a large number of Jews feel threatened” by Muslims.