French Xenophobic Nationalists Make Gains in Local Elections

Credit: Manuel/wikimediaCredit: Manuel/wikimediaYesterday the French voted in the first round of local elections, and the results are not good for the Socialist party and its allies, who according to preliminary results received only 38 percent of the vote. The largest center-right opposition group, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its allies received 47 percent of the vote. There was a record low turnout at these elections, with only 38 percent of those eligible to vote showing up at the polls.

The far-right nationalist, anti-immigration, and anti-European Union party the National Front (FN) did much better this year than it did in the first round of previous municipal elections, having received five percent this year compared to 0.9 percent in the first round of elections in 2008.

As Agence France-Presse notes, the results put the National Front in a good position ahead of the second round of voting, scheduled for March 30:

Although the FN had been expected to do well, the first round results were far better than expected.

Far-right candidates came ahead in several key towns and cities that will put them in pole position in the second round on March 30.

In the former coal-mining town of Henin-Beaumont in northern France, Steeve Briois went a step further and achieved 50.3 percent, an absolute majority which made him the outright winner and mayor.

Under municipal election rules in France, any candidate who gets more than 50 percent is declared the winner and there is no need for a second round.

Although headlines speak of the French far-right triumphing, making “historic” and “big” gains, and relishing “election breakthrough” it is worth remembering that while the National Front may have greatly increased its performance compared with the first round of voting in 2008, its total support in yesterday’s elections was only five percent and it only put forward candidates in roughly 600 of about 36,000 constituencies.

What will really indicate the level of support enjoyed by the National Front is what happens in the second round of voting. Some voters may have supported the National Front in the first round of voting in order to alert sitting politicians to their dissatisfaction with the far from ideal state of the French economy but don't intend to support the National Front in the second round. The Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that “the National Front is in a situation where it could win the second round, all democratic and republican forces have the responsibility to create the conditions to stop it from doing so.” The leader of the UMP party urged those who voted for the National Front to vote for his party instead.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Brandon||

    Why the fuck do the French think the only choices are socialists or Nazis?

  • paranoid android||

    There was a record low turnout at these elections, with only 38 percent of those eligible to vote showing up at the polls.

    Why isn't "62% of Frenchmen are evidently sick of this shit" the real story here?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because they already cut the heads off of all the Royalists and counterrevolutionaries?

  • Brandon||

    Robespierre, you magnificent bastard, they read your book!

  • Homple||

    Nazis? You sure?

  • Calidissident||

    Well, they sure do sound like National Socialists ...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why the fuck do the French think the only choices are socialists or Nazis?

    How are we different?

  • ||

    Like, there aren't Nazis in American government?

    And who are the socialists? You yourself don't consider Obama a socialist and he's probably the most progressive leader (among Wilson, FDR and even TDR) in American history -since the 20th century anyway.

  • paranoid android||

    Not to defend Obama, but more progressive than Wilson? A guy who tried to nationalize agriculture?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Obama does have a few years left, you know.

  • ||

    Good point.

    I don't know who is worse. Mind you, Obama did help out the banks so I don't know if that's progressive or crony capitalism.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, TARP was all Bush. The two big GSE's were also nationalized in 2008.

    Yes, Senator Obama voted for TARP. We were told the Great Depression II was pending.

  • Dweebston||

    Well, then. As long as their intentions were unimpeachable.

  • Jordan||

    And President-Elect Obama requested that Bush release several hundred million in TARP funds, after Bush gave him the option to reject them.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Once $$ is appropriated it is always spent.

  • Jordan||

    It wasn't appropriated yet.

  • R C Dean||

    Actually, TARP was all Bush.

    Good thing Obama voted against it since he was a Senator at the time, right?

  • Brandon||

    We have libertarians.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Who never win anything.

    There should be a libertarian party, a labor party, and a fundie/rural party instead of our amorphous two party system.

  • Brandon||

    In France, there is not even a smaller government party having an effect on the debate.

  • ||

    I was just going to write this. It's almost as if they want to destroy France.

  • paranoid android||

    C'mon Rufus, this doesn't even crack the top 10 of historical political situations that could potentially destroy France.

  • ||

    Swinging between socialist and far-right extreme parties is not a problem that cracks a top 10?

  • paranoid android||

    Well, they haven't cut off any heads or invaded anyone yet...

  • ||

    France? Invade? Surely you jest.

  • The Little Corporal||

    Nope!

  • SusanM||

    Well, they need someone to surrender to. They've gone without for so long.

  • prolefeed||

    Nazis were socialists -- which part of National Socialist German Workers Party sounds like it is remotely free market?

    If you said international socialists versus national socialists, then fine.

  • Brett L||

    How xenophobic are we talking about? I assume they have far worse sins than hating the EU and wanting all of the young men living in France to refrain from burning cars and throwing rocks at riot cops, but there's not much evidence for it here.

  • Homple||

    Young men of indeterminate ethnicity and religious persuasion, you forgot to emphasize.

  • paranoid android||

    I imagine skipping work in France is easy as hell.

    "Yeah boss, can't make it into the office today, street youths lit my car on fire again. Think it was about, uh, tuition hikes this time..."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    you don't need a reason not to go to work in France.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nonsense. You still have to call in that morning to let them know you won't be there. Of course the only checkbox on the HR form is ennui.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My name is Henri.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I was wondering the same thing. Hating the EU is totally understandable, and it's hardly a monopoly of fascism to want immigration restrictions, which all western countries have to some extent, regardless of politics.

    Also, "Union for a Popular Movement?" What an odd name.

  • Dweebston||

    Would you prefer the Do Something party?

  • SugarFree||

    The ultimate example of begging the question? Or is it more that they are using "popular" in the sense of "The People's Party"?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Could be something lost in translation. It has a bit of a "we're united in favor of a popular movement of some sort" sound.

    It also distinctly resembles something out of Life of Brian.

  • prolefeed||

    The Popular Union Movement and the Union for Movements that are Popular hate them.

  • Drake||

    They don't practice rishathra.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be fair, they probably fear our Pak Protector, John Brennan.

  • ||

    French xenophobia basically is anti-immigration.

  • PapayaSF||

    I would rephrase that as: French "xenophobia" is objecting to massive numbers of immigrant Muslims who are turning the country into something other than France.

  • Pro Libertate||

    See, Russia? Now you're making the French into Nazis. Next up, the Germans!

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    You know who else made Germans into...wait a minute...never mind.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, if the French had just surrendered in WWI, there would have been no Nazis.

  • Loki||

    Maybe that's why they surrendered so easily in WW2. They were worried that if they fought back, they'd eventually end up with something even worse than Nazis. Like Nazi Zombies, maybe?

  • waffles||

    Nazi Zombies aren't real. They were worried about Mutant Nazis.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Clearly, the greatest threat was Space Nazis.

  • SusanM||

    Not very farfetched...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034314/

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Economically they've evolved into anti globalization protectionists while maintaining the basic tenets of France's welfare state.

    It's like they've managed to blend the absolute worst aspects of both left and right.

  • KPres||

    Which is why I never get why they're called "far-right". They're more like radical centrists.

  • The Little Corporal||

    Far-right for the average Frog is relative to how far left the entire place is, and probably something to the left of center here.

  • Dweebston||

    It's handy having unapologetically socialist countries in the world. It's like having a neighboring factory unionize, then watching it cannibalize itself from the inside out. Cautionary tales all over.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Cautionary tales all over.

    Yes, of kulaks, hoarders, and wreckers.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, unfortunately, the lesson taken from these cautionary tales is usually some combination of:

    (1) Foiled again by bstructionism!
    (2) Needz moar better Top Men.
    (3) We just didn't hit it hard enough, comrades!

  • Dweebston||

    Fair enough. Maybe it's more "bitterly satisfying" than handy.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "It's handy having unapologetically socialist countries in the world."

    Don't worry, we're nipping at their heels.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A judge on Monday ordered the District of Columbia to provide homeless families private rooms when temperatures drop below freezing instead of housing them in public recreation centers.

    The ruling by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun came in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of homeless people who said the housing offered by the United States capital placed their children in danger.

    Washington's financial burden is outweighed by the "psychological harm of the most vulnerable members of our society, the children of the homeless" if they are denied safe housing, the judge said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/washingt.....QAB03QtDMD

  • tarran||

    Let me guess, because he was seriously about remedying the danger to homeless children, the judge ordered Washington DC to liberalize the enforcement of zoning laws and the simplify the permitting process for constructing new housing so that more housing units could be placed on the market.... right?

  • ||

    New housing just increases the damage done by urban blight. That means proggies stated goals of helping the least fortunate and saving mama gaia come into direct conflict. I'll give you two guesses which one wins out.

  • Dweebston||

    Why do you hate hobo children, Camping?

  • paranoid android||

    Presumably because he's sick of competing with them for room whilst camping in your park.

  • jmomls||

    Wouldn't it be cheaper & easier to give them a bus ticket to somewhere warm?

  • Brandon||

    Does France have anything like a libertarian party?

  • Pro Libertate||

    They sure do.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    ".1%" seems about right

  • ||

    Yes. Always did.

    A country that produces Bastiat will always have a pulse on liberty.

  • Tonio||

    "He's over there..."

    Also, test since I couldn't get to the login page earlier today.

  • Paul.||

    Every country has a libertarian party. In the U.S., it's the 22 regular commenters on Hit and Run. In France, it's the 22 regular commenters on Hit and Run.

  • Brandon||

    There are 22 of us?

  • Paul.||

    Unless we've shrunk.

  • Brandon||

    I thought we were all sock puppets?

  • Paul.||

    Some of us are earnest sockpuppets.

  • Rasilio||

    Only if you count sock puppets as regular commenters too

  • SugarFree||

    The Hyper-Socialist Dole Bum Party is the closest thing. They want to rob the rich, but not cave their skulls in with rotary phones. They are considered dangerous reactionaries for this controversial stance.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Alternative Libérale has been featured here before, with at least one piece on their leader, Sabine Herold.

  • Paul.||

    Dare I even attempt to load Reason.fr?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, dare it!

  • Paul.||

    "Cette page n'existe pas !"

    vive la différence!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Raison, mon ami, raison!

  • Paul.||

    So what's the upshot here? Europeans remain polarized between socialists and National Socialists?

  • Rasilio||

    So the UMP's leader is Le Pen?

    So Obama is apparently not the only one with a pen

  • Brandon||

    Who is Michelle Nunn and why am I getting her ads for Senate? I know she's not in CO.

  • Paul.||

    Relative of Sam Nunn?

  • Paul.||

    Huh, shut my mouth. Daughter.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    GA Senate candidate (D).

    She is hoping to draw a Todd Akin from the GOP field.

  • SIV||

    Ha! She's the presumptive Dem nominee for the open US Senate seat in Georgia.

    A sacrificial lamb running on her Daddy's last name.

  • John||

    How many idiot sons and daughters does the DNC have?

  • SIV||

    We're getting two on the GA ballot. Michelle Nunn and one of Jimmy Carter's boys is running for governor.

  • John||

    They are all so inbreed anymore that I am pretty sure we are one generation from there being a lisp and a huge chin in our entire political class.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Seems Ron Reagan Jr is the exception to the rule.

  • Brandon||

    Well, at least she'll get to keep all the unspent campaign contributions.

  • prolefeed||

    Not so sure about the sacrificial lamb. Per Nate Silver:

    "Republicans have great opportunities in a number of states, but only in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas do we rate the races as clearly leaning their way. Republicans will also have to win at least two toss-up races, perhaps in Alaska, North Carolina or Michigan, or to convert states such as New Hampshire into that category. And they’ll have to avoid taking losses of their own in Georgia and Kentucky, where the fundamentals favor them but recent polls show extremely competitive races."

    http://time.com/34911/nate-sil.....-midterms/

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I recently read that GA is 44% minority. No other state comes close to GA in voting purely based on race. The GOP is the White Party here.

    Contrast an Iowa where an overwhelming white electorate will vote Democrat by a handful of points.

  • ||

    Walter: Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • Beezard||

    Yeah, I know but...shouldn't there be a reason GWAR tribute yet? It's 4pm eastern.

  • Tonio||

    I'm holding out for PM links.

  • Ted S.||

    I'd never heard of Gwar until I saw on Wikipedia's obituaries page that one of the members died.

  • Beezard||

    Basically take every 80s era social conservative fear and put it on tour.

  • John||

    The French political establishment has told average and middle class French to go fuck themselves for about a generation now. They of course are now shocked such people would embrace a far right party when that party is the only party who will take their concerns seriously.

    The lesson for the crapweasels in the US political establishment is that they better damn well hope the Tea Party succeeds in some fashion because if it doesn't, they are not going to like what comes next.

  • Lord Humungus||

    colored me shocked that er, the socialist lites won over the socialist moderates. Or whatever.

  • General Butt Naked||

    R.I.P.

    GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus dead at 50.

    Here's School's Out for you scat-illogical retards.

  • Beezard||

    Never saw them live, and my friends were so into them I never felt I had to personally buy their albums. But I watched "phallus in wonderland" about a 1000 times between ages 15-18.

  • prolefeed||

    You know you're dealing with Inside the Beltway Thinking TM when the talking point is "A right-wing party got 5% of the vote! They might get 50% of the vote in a few months! So vote Socialist!"

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement