Friday, December 15, 2017
Politics

Far right getting stronger despite score of 0 in French vote

PARIS — Marine Le Pen's concession speech after her National Front party lost in every region of France on Sunday was anything but conciliatory, despite more than 70 percent of voters rejecting the far-right leader's message of hostility toward immigrants and open borders.

That intransigence, analysts say, is the key to both the National Front's history and its destiny, and the reason — in the absence of truly dire economic conditions — that a takeover by the far right in France is not likely any time soon.

What gives the party its fiercely loyal following — its vituperative denunciation of migrants, its unconcealed hostility toward Muslims, its xenophobic "France for the French" message — also makes it an impossible partner for any political group closer to the mainstream and helps block its advancement as a political force.

Throughout the country, in Sunday's second round of regional voting, the mainstream parties formed a de facto alliance against the National Front, which even lost in the two regions where Le Pen and her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen were favored to win.

And since Marine Le Pen represents the "courageous and determined patriots," defeat is never her party's fault. Never mind the big turnout Sunday.

Instead, she was the victim of a conspiracy, she told her disappointed supporters.

The party "doesn't realize that in order to win power, it has to make allies and expand its audience," said Sylvain Crépon, a political scientist and an expert on the National Front. "You can see the limits of its strategy. Any alliance with the right is impossible."

Le Pen made it clear that she is looking forward to the 2017 presidential election.

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