2) Le Pen phenomenon

by Giuseppe Terranova - 2012.01.31
2) Le Pen phenomenon
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Whatsapp
  • Print

Two months before France's presidential election, Front National continues to rise in the polls, registering its best historical result. It is an unexpected success, especially if we consider that it was only one year ago that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder and undisputed leader of the party, retired from political life allowing his daughter Marine to take his place at the head of the extreme right-wing movement. This is what we discuss with Jean Yves Camus, research associate at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in Paris. Camus also collaborates with “Le Monde Diplomatique”, “Charlie Hebdo”, “Proche Orient”, “Rue89” and is one of the best political analysts of what, thanks to a extraordinarily well-chosen expression, is broadly defined as “populisme alpin”.

1) According to a recent survey carried out by TNS Sofres, 31% of the French support the ideas of Front National, against 22% registered one year ago. What reasons lie behind this change?

This is certainly the result of the change at the head of the FN; Marine Le Pen is more in tune with the working and lower middle-class than her father is, simply because she is looking like the average French working woman and she has changed the party’s course and social and economic issues from free-market policies to asking for State intervention on welfare, national market protection and even policy planning.

2) The survey shows that the party headed by Marine Le Pen attracts voters among people younger than 35 years old. Is it possible, therefore, to say that Front National is becoming increasingly popular among educated youths and middle class people living in big towns?

No, because the educational level serves as a barrier against the FN vote. 28% of those aged 18 to 24 intend to vote for her, but that proportion drops to 13% among those who have at least 2 years in a general or technical university. So the threshold is not class-belonging but education. Furthermore the FN vote is no more restricted to big cities. The real issue is that the uneducated youth are those who are hit the hardest by the unemployment crisis and that they might consider voting for FN because this party scapegoats immigrants for all the trouble they have in getting a job.

3) In the past, Front National achieved important election successes. In 2002, indeed, Jean-Marie Le Pen, lost in the second round to Jacques Chirac. On that occasion, voters did not think the Party could properly run the country, but it is evident that things have changed. Today 31% of respondents consider FN an actual government party. In the light of these results, and in view of the difficult moment experienced by socialists, do you believe that Marine Le Pen may realistically win next presidential election?

There’s no way she can win and she knows that. We are heading towards a Left-Right confrontation on the second ballot, with a remote possibility that she can fill the 5 points gap between Sarkozy and herself, and thus be on the second ballot. She is seen as competent on identity, immigration or law and order issues, but she is lacking credibility when it comes to reducing the debt of the State and coping with the economy. Francois Hollande is still leading and the Socialist Party is united behind him, something Ségolène Royal was not able to achieve in 2007.

Published in Citizenship.
Related:
  • Now millionaires also number among the immigrants

    That the number of immigrants is growing in relative terms is a given. However, until recently, we did not know that this growth also extended to the high earners of the world. A new trend analysed and described in the recent brilliant paper “Millionaire Emigration” by the Migration Policy Institute Read More.

  • How the children of immigrants gain citizenship

    Italy: Law No. 91 of 5 February 1992, modifying in part the regulation on the means of the granting of citizenship in force since 1912, has confirmed that the children of immigrants born in Italy do not automatically acquire civil status. This is only the case if it is requested Read More.

  • Another route to achieve ius soli

    In politics as in life, something good may just come out of something bad. On the condition, however, that one has the intelligence and the will to turn things around as needed. As in the case of the tragic calendar deferment decided yesterday by the Senate (already voted by the Read More.

  • Five curious statistics about legal immigrants in the USA

    Out of 44.7 million immigrants in the USA, as many as 33.8 million are legal. The Pew Research Center has just brought to light some facts about legal immigrants in the U.S. on occasion of Trump’s very recent announcement of his super-reforms for managing the arrival of foreigners in the Read More.

  • The U.S. grants citizenship to those who don’t know English

    More than 30% of American citizens of immigrant origins in the U.S. do not know how to either read or write in English. Which often creates and obstacle to social and economic integration. At least, this is the snapshot that has recently emerged in the last report of the Center Read More.

  • Britain’s “May Plan” targets immigrants, including those from Italy

    While Italy is divided over if and how to grant citizenship to the children of immigrants, England is planning on getting rid of immigrants altogether. This is true for Italians who emigrated to the UK, but also for many other EU citizens. It seems as if this is the enormous Read More.