Far Right Gains in France

Before posting this story, it is worth mentioning a different report by Reuters, which is on the credibility of the National Front’s economic plans. This report can be found here.

“Focus on French Economy Fuels Gains by Far Right,” by Steven Erlanger for the New York Times:

This small city in northern France has few immigrants and little crime. But in the last local elections here, the candidate of the far-right National Front eliminated the standard-bearer of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in the first round of voting and then won 30.2 percent of the vote in the runoff, losing to a Socialist…

What is most striking is how well she and the party are doing not only in the south of France, where immigration and radical Islam are traditional issues, but here in the post-industrial north, where the issues are more economic: unemployment, factory closings, competition from inside the enlarged European Union, from Poland and Slovakia, and from outside, particularly China…

There are, of course, those who insist that France is being polluted by immigration and undermined by Islam. Anti-Semitism, however, an underlying theme of the party’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been disavowed by Ms. Le Pen, his daughter. She concentrates more on Islam and those who, she says, refuse to assimilate to French habits, laws and culture, including secularism and gender equality…

Workers “are sick of paying for people who aren’t working, and I’m not speaking just of immigrants,” he said. But immigration is an issue, said his colleague, Christian Mandosse, 51, who runs a party Web site. People are tired of “France importing the unemployed and their families,” he said, especially those who do not share French “culture, values and religion.”

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