With the French presidential elections drawing ever nearer, Marine Le Pen seems to be attracting young people to the higher echelons of her party, in a bid to gain the support of the youth of France.
The Front National’s departmental secretary is a young bright thing called Laurent Price. What’s even more interesting is that his family, who are from a working class background, have always voted for the Socialists.
Price recently claimed that young people were joining the Front National in their droves, proud to be associated with a party that promises them jobs and patriotism, perhaps blissfully unaware of their divisive tactics.
The Front National claim they are not a racist party, yet this week in a bid to create controversy, Marine claimed that all meat prepared in the Paris region was done so using Islamic halal traditions – where in fact the reality is more like 2.5%.
Her claims were resolutely denied by the authorities and meat producers. Islam is second to Christianity in France in numbers and the country has tried to deal with this in different ways, notably banning the wearing of the niqab in public.
The Front National, like the BNP, carefully prey on working class discontentment with rising unemployment, the euro and religion; like the BNP, Le Pen aligns herself as a candidate of the people in contrast to Sarkozy’s association with the rich and powerful.
Le Pen’s campaign also gained a boost when Brigitte Bardot, the former screen star, endorsed her campaign. If Le Pen is to get officially onto the presidential ballot, she will need more open supporters like Bardot as she recently lost a constitutional battle to keep the names of her supporters anonymous.
Now that her supporters in secret must reluctantly come out in the open, hopefully Le Pen will not gain the 500 names needed to get onto the ballot. However, if she makes it to the election and loses, which she is certain to, it is likely she may stand in the parliamentary elections that follow shortly after.
M. Hollande is currently riding high in the polls and so there would be no need for Le Pen’s rising popularity with the youth to push Hollande into anti-immigration rhetoric. Hollande will also be visiting London soon to help promote the new Northern Europe candidate Axelle Lemaire among French expats and inevitably boost his own campaign.
There is a large French community within the UK, with many of them registered to vote. If Hollande can capitalise on their vote, we will get closer to seeing a Socialist President in May 2012.
• Why we should worry about the poison of Le Pen – Cllr Sanchia Alasia, February 17th 2012
• Is François Hollande the next president of France? – Jack Storry, February 9th 2012
• Getting to the roots of far right xenophobia – Dr Matthew Goodwin, April 9th 2011
• EDL leader is ex-BNP thug – Shamik Das, June 28th 2010
• BNP booted out of Barking – Shamik Das, May 7th 2010