News / Europe

France's Far Right Leader Vows Electoral Shake-up

Marine Le Pen (C), France's far-right National Front political party leader, and National Front party deputy Gilbert Collard (L) attend the presentation of New Year wishes to the media in Nanterre, Jan. 7, 2014.
Marine Le Pen (C), France's far-right National Front political party leader, and National Front party deputy Gilbert Collard (L) attend the presentation of New Year wishes to the media in Nanterre, Jan. 7, 2014.
Lisa Bryant
Buoyed by record popularity ratings and a disgruntled public, the leader of France's far-right National Front is vowing to shake up politics as usual during upcoming local and European elections. Party leader Marine Le Pen predicts surging support for anti-EU and anti-immigrant parties like hers across the region. 

French media suggest 2014 may be the year of Le Pen, and she seems to believe it, too. Speaking Thursday to anglophone journalists at her party's headquarters outside Paris, Le Pen predicted the demise of the country's two-party tradition.

Le Pen said the current French political system has come to an end - with what she called a collapse of the rule of law and basic values, and zero public confidence in politicians. This change, she said, would be registered at the polls.

Today, the National Front has only two deputies in the National Assembly, no senators and only a few dozen municipal lawmakers. But Le Pen believes that will change.

She has two upcoming dates to test her predictions. France holds municipal elections in March - and Le Pen's party plans to field candidates in a record 500 towns. Elections for the European Parliament take place across the 28-member bloc in May.

Polls show the National Front capturing a record 20 percent approval rating. The party is capitalizing on the struggling economy, fears of radical Islam and immigration, along with anger over the policies of Socialist President Francois Hollande. Another survey finds the Front capturing one-quarter of intended European Parliament votes - well ahead of the Socialists and the opposition right-of-center UMP party.

Le Pen said she believed euroskeptics would win considerably more seats in the European Parliament than they currently hold and form alliances aimed at dismantling the EU.

A member of the European Parliament, Le Pen said her main wish was for the EU to collapse. She predicted that those she called "patriots" in the European Parliament wold block any move to make the EU stronger.

Europe's economic crisis has triggered growing support for far-right populist parties in countries like Britain, the Netherlands and Greece. But Thursday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso downplayed the strength of euroskeptics and their chances at the polls.

Le Pen has tried to refurbish the radical image of the National Front since taking over its top post from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, three years ago. She placed third in the 2012 presidential elections.

On Thursday, she referred to the rise of fundamentalist Islam in France. She accused a small minority of radicals of pressuring the majority of mainstream French Muslims to adopt more conservative attitudes and identify with their religion rather than their country.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid