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Le Pen’s Far-Right [sic] FN Party Backed by 34% of French

By Umberto Bacchi

12 February, 2014

Support for France’s far-right [sic] and anti-European [Union] National Front (FN) party has reached a new high, an opinion poll shows.

Some 34% of Frenchmen agree with FN’s ideas, up two points on last year, according to a TNS-Sofres survey for Le Monde and Canal +.

Of the 1021 people interviewed, 16% said they never voted for FN in the past but intend to do so in the future.

The nationalist party seems to owe much of its recent success to its leader, Marine Le Pen.

Since taking the reins of the party from her father, Jean-Marie, in 2011, Le Pen has been working hard to clean up FN’s long-standing image of a racist and anti-Semitic movement.

Although 50% of interviewees still perceive FN as a threat to democracy, 46% describe Le Pen as “the face of patriotic conservatives, with traditional values,” while only 43% believe she represents the “nationalistic, xenophobic extreme right”.

During her tenure, the 45-year-old lawyer has also managed to carve out for herself an image as trustworthy leader, the survey shows.

An impressive 81% see her as a resolute leader, while 56% agree she well understands French people’s daily problems.

Interestingly, the policies on which FN have been campaigning for the most seem to be the least popular.

Le Pen has argued that the disintegration of the EU will help re-launch European countries on the world stage, and has reached out to other nationalist European parties to form a joint anti-euro, anti-immigration movement ahead of the May 2014 European Parliament elections.

However only 29% of people polled believe France should drop the euro and get back to its old currency, the Franc.

Even fewer interviewees (24%) agree that laws should grant French nationals privileges vis-a-vis foreigners when it comes to employment.

According to the poll, FN’s most popular credos are that France’s traditional values should be better protected; that police should have more powers; and that the justice system should be harder on petty criminals.