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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid