Marie Le Pen

Why the far right did so well in the French election

There are two ways of looking at the results of the first round of the French presidential vote. On the surface, voters chose to engineer a classic left-right competition by sending the Socialist candidate François Hollande and the outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy into the second round, on 6 May.

But that's far from the whole story. The biggest upset did not come, as was expected, from Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the maverick leftwing Socialist dissident in coalition with with the remains of the Communists – but from Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National.

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French voters turn on Sarkozy; record support to extreme right

An angry anti-establishment mood swept across France as voters in the first round of the presidential election delivered President Nicolas Sarkozy a distant second-place result and gave the extreme right-wing Marine Le Pen an unprecedented 20 per cent of the vote for third place.

Mr. Sarkozy’s main challenger, Socialist François Hollande, led a strong showing of 28.4 per cent, providing Mr. Sarkozy with a margin that will hard to beat in two weeks when they face off in the final vote.

The Toulouse killings: why was the radical right suspected at first?

On Monday March 19 people began to suspect the extreme right of being responsible for the Toulouse massacre. By Wednesday March 21, debate settled on how Marine Le Pen might benefit from the fact that the alleged killer was an Islamist. Such a striking reversal of positions begs for some explanation. Why was an extreme right perpetrator seen as a likely lead? How does the Front National address issues of political violence? How did Marine Le Pen react to these events?

A radical underground

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