Far-Right Gains

A National Affront

Marine Le Pen, France's National Front political party head, leaves the polling booth before casting her ballot in the European Parliament election in Henin-Beaumont, May 25, 2014. Citizens from 28-nations cast their vote to elect the 751 members of the European Parliament. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR3QQR3
National Front Leader Marine Le Pen could destabilize France with her far-right rhetoric.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The National Front’s success in France’s regional elections has Europe questioning how it should deal with the far-right’s newfound power.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The far-right National Front party was long disregarded as a viable political threat.
    • But many French are disappointed in parties that have done little to fix the country’s deep-seated problems.
    • Most French people approve of President Hollande’s tough response to the Paris terrorist attacks, but not of his Socialist Party.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Ah, those were the days! It’s almost with nostalgia that we now remember the year 2000, when the European Union imposed sanctions against Austria after right-wing populists became part of its government.

Back then, France was one of the driving forces behind those sanctions. But now, the far-right has become the strongest political force in France itself after regional elections on Sunday, which saw the anti-immigrant, euro-skeptic National Front party surge ahead of the country’s more traditionally centerist parties in the wake of last month’s brutal terrorist attacks in Paris.

So what do we do now? We can no longer turn our backs in disinterest or disgust. For too long, the political and economic elites in both France and Germany did not take the National Front phenomenon seriously. This criminal impartiality is no longer sustainable. Instead, we must look closely at France and try to understand what is happening to our friends.

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