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France's National Front tops poll on EP election

France's National Front tops poll on EP election

Categories: Latest News

Friday October 11 2013

The EU Observer website reports that the Front Nationale has topped a poll on how French voters intend to cast their ballot in next year’s European Parliament elections.

Of those polled, 24% said they would vote for populist far right party compared to 22% for the centre-right party, UMP, and only 19% for the governing party, the Socialist party.

The poll by Ifop for Le Nouvel Observateur, published on Wednesday (9 October), suggests that the FN could be set to repeat its recent electoral success in France. In last year’s French presidential election the FN polled 18% of first round votes.

According to Le Nouvel Observateur, “The FN is changing in nature. Its place is no longer at the margins of the political game but at the centre.” Nearly 25% of 18-24 year olds and almost one in five women voted for the party in the 2012 elections.

FN leader, Marine Le Pen has frequently uttered anti-Muslim rhetoric on issues from halal meat to Friday prayers.

There is palpable fear across the EU that the Parliament elections set for 22-25 May 2014 could see many far-right groups prosper across the region.

In Holland, the anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, shows good standing in polls and the idea of a joint campaign with Le Pen in the EP elections next year has been mooted.

In the UK, the UK Independence Party is currently polling 11% but they expect to surpass the 16% they pooled in 2009 with leader Nigel Farage predicting an “earthquake” in next years election

In Greece, the country’s far-right political party, Golden Dawn, has been condemned throughout the EU after its supporters recently killed anti-fascist campaigner, Pavlos Fyssas.

Greek liberal MEP Theodorakis Skylarkakis accused authorities in Greece of “allowing [Golden Dawn] to carry out their activities without any police action” urging the EU to look at why “hundreds of thousands” of citizens are being attracted to far right parties.

The situation in Greece has escalated to the point where the Government is considering bring a new bill on hate crime in a bid to stem attacks on asylum seekers and migrants.

Human Rights Watch reports that the bill will focus on tackling racist and xenophobic violence, not criminalizing speech or ideas. The new draft law will require mandatory investigation and public prosecution of suspected hate crimes, without requiring victims to pay a €100 fee to file their complaint, a feature of current law that deters some victims of racist attacks from filing a report.

A 2012 HRW report entitled, “Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece,” documented an alarming surge in xenophobic attacks and the failure of the Greek police and the judiciary to prevent, investigate, and punish vigilante violence targeting migrants and asylum seekers.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said national authorities should take responsibility for investigating situations of racism or xenophobia but she promised that the Commission would present a report by the end of the year on member states’ compliance with existing laws tackling discrimination.

HRW have previously documented the right-wing shift in EU politics in their World Report 2012. Dr Matthew Goodwin has also investigated the appeal of populist extremist parties in Europe and how to counter it in the report ‘Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe‘.


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