Thursday

30th Mar 2017

France's National Front tops EU election survey

France's National Front party has come out top in a poll on how French voters intend to cast their ballot in next year's EU elections.

A poll by Ifop for Le Nouvel Observateur, published Wednesday (9 October), found that 24 percent of those asked said they will vote for the anti-immigration, anti-Muslim National Front party.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The centre-right UMP managed 22 percent while the Socialists, political home to President Francois Hollande, comes third with 19 percent.

The newspaper remarks that the poll is "of course not a prediction. But it describes a new reality in French political life.

"The FN is changing in nature. Its place is not longer at the margins of the political game but at the centre."

The party won a record 18 percent of the vote in last year's presidential election, with its leader Marine Le Pen credited with bringing in previously unwooed parts of the electorate.

Almost one in five women and nearly 25 percent of 18-24 year olds voted for the party, new percentages for the FN.

The party campaigns for curbing immigration and exiting the euro. Le Pen has styled herself as protecting France against both the "European Soviet Union" and against Muslim immigration.

Meanwhile there could be political upheavals during the 22-25 May election in other countries too.

Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, who PVV party advocates withdrawing from both the euro and the EU, remains a major force in the Netherlands.

It has been polling top in the domestic scene in recent weeks amid frustration with the current government's economic policies and amid rising euroscepticism among the Dutch.

Both Wilders and Le Pen have mooted the possibly teaming up to campaign ahead of the elections.

The eurosceptic, anti-immigration UK Independence Party, came third in local elections in May.

It is currently polling at 11 percent, ahead of the junior governing party, the Liberal Democrats, but is tipped to exceed the 16 percent it claimed in 2009, while party leader Nigel Farage has himself predicted an "earthquake" next year.

The National Front poll is set to heighten fears - already alive in Brussels - that the elections to the European Parliament will result in large gains for extremist parties.

Some hope that the personalization of the politics in the shape of parties putting forward candidates for European Commission president will motivate more people to go to the ballot boxes.

European political parties have not nominated candidates yet but there is increasing talk of Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, a veteran of the EU scene, being the centre-right's candidate.

European Parliament chief and socialist Martin Schulz is seen as a strong contender for the centre-left, with the French socialist party having endorsed him on Tuesday (8 October).

Focus

De-demonising the National Front: Is it for real?

National Front leader Marine Le Pen wants to "de-demonise" her party. The strategy has kept the FN in the media spotlight for weeks but questions remain over how deep the changes are.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

News in Brief

  1. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU
  2. Support for Germany's anti-EU party fading
  3. Turkish intelligence not welcome in Germany
  4. US senate approves Montenegro’s Nato bid
  5. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  6. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  7. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  8. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans