News from France

francjaSince the 2014 European elections, every French citizen has been keeping an eye on the electoral scores of the Front National (FN), France’s main far-right party. The FN won the elections with 25% of the votes, becoming France’s leading party. As the number of the party’s adherents rises, many worry that Marine Le Pen, its President, could win the next presidential election. The right conservatives are even blaming the left socialist for the rise in FN votes: as the “Députés UMP”(Conservative MPs) account tweeted on March 31st, “Under your rule, never in the history of our country was the FN that high” ( addressing the Socialist Party, the PS). A week ago however, during local elections, the FN won over no department, whilst the main right party (the UMP, with ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy at its head) won the majority of votes and secured 65 of the 101 council seats. M. Sarkozy tweeted on the night of the results that “hope is reviving [for France]”, but M. Valls (the French Prime Minister) still said in a speech that “the electoral results of the far-right were still way too high”.

NF1Map showing the electoral results at the 2015 local elections: blue represents a department won by the right, pink represents a department won by the left, and grey represents a department were the majority is unclear.

However, the Socialist Party (the PS, President Hollande’s party) endured a clear defeat: it lost 30 councils, and now stands with only 25. Because these local elections are often seen a foreshadowing of the 2017 presidential elections, this defeat of the left could be interpreted as result of frustration from the French people, crushed by extremely high taxes and an increase of unemployment. Therefore, the French tend to vote either for the right (UMP), or for the FN. Marine Le Pen (the FN’s President) was euphoric in a speech after the elections: although winning no council, she claimed it was “a historic day for the FN”, “a magnificent success”, and that “the goal [was] near”. Indeed, despite winning no department, the FN won a lot of seats in nearly every department. This situation very well illustrates the French political issue: the proportion of the French being disillusioned by the classic right/left ruling is rising: many are now voting for the far-right, a party promising a brighter future, mainly through exiting the Eurozone and diminishing greatly immigration.

– by Marin E.