As France 24 reports, the right wing in France is making significant gains.
“TV exit polls show Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen gaining more than 40 percent in the north and the southeast of the country.”
Early exit poll results suggest that France has become radicalized after the November 13, 2015, Paris Attacks, in which 130 people are confirmed murdered by so-called Islamic terrorists.
— Open Europe (@OpenEurope) December 6, 2015
These early results indicate that the world publicity of the Paris attacks, such as people changing their Facebook profile to red, white, and blue to show support for France, has led to a radicalization revolution as French citizens embrace the anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric of the far right in France.
— Vanguard Newspapers (@vanguardngrnews) December 6, 2015
Who is the far right?
The far right in France is an “insurgent right-wing,” according to Business Insider, as well as the wider mainstream media in Europe, particularly in Britain, where political movements such as Britain First are seen largely as fringe intolerance, never to be actually taken seriously. One thing that all right-wing organisations in Europe appear to share are a hatred for Islam.
— Britain First (@BritainFirst) December 6, 2015
In France, as well as pan Europe more generally, far right parties have a long history of taking hold. The most famous example is Hitler, but more recently, Marine Le Pen, who has shed the image of the far right as anti-Jew. The party takes a hard line position against Islam and immigration. The chequered past of the National Front has led to the re-birth of a mainstream party that ends its focus on the Jews and the Holocaust.
“Jean Marie Le Pen has called the Holocaust a ‘detail of history.’ Remarks like this, perceived as anti-Semitic, are severely discouraged on the campaign these days. But anti-Islam rhetoric is commonplace.”
Besides anti-Islam, then, what might France expect from a ruling far-right party? While the chances of Marine Le Pen making through the second round are low, meaning a far-right president or Prime Minister is unlikely to be the case for many years, the values of the right-wing in France are leading the entire political system away from its leftist roots.
Not since Vichy France, under the control of Hitler, has France been called upon with such urgency to embrace an ideology that nationalizes its views on liberté, égalité, fraternité to the extent that borders and culture are asked to close to particular foreigners and their respective cultures, in this case Islam. It is clear the Paris attacks have had an impact, but the Charlie Hebdo attacks are also part of the collective memory of France, which has already confronted a clash of cultures with its 2010 ban on the burqa, a full face covering of Muslim women.
[© Benoît Prieur / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0]
— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) December 6, 2015
Europe is currently split between the German sentiment that all refugees should be given a home, however temporary, and the anti-Europe, anti-immigration rhetoric of Britain. France, despite its laws supporting strict secularism, has been a multi-cultural society nonetheless. This most recent vote, however, could be a sign of things to come as Europe (and America) come to grips with a new terror threat which does not even need a direct order from Daesh: isolated Muslims with sympathy for Jihadists. The most recent Islamic extremism shooting in California, as well as the stabbing of a tube passenger in East London, are part of the larger trend of Daesh seeking to stamp its history on the West, even if these attacks are largely viewed as “non-directed” by Daesh.
The right-wing, especially the National Front led by Marine Le Pen, are seeking to gain back ground in this French vote by bringing their nationalist, anti-Muslim politics to the mainstream.
[Image (Marine Le Pen) by Antoine Bayet / CC BY-SA 2.0 / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) / via Wikimedia Commons, altered with background French flag by Benchill (Own work) / CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)] / via Wikimedia Commons]