France lately has been in the new a fair bit of late for massive strikes against pension reforms, doubled with violence at the margin of the student manifestations, and blockades of its refineries. However our media has not picked up on an underlying phenomenon, another symptom of the general malaise in the country. A rise in popularity of the extreme right.
In 2002 as you will remember, there was shock and consternation when Jean Marie LePen defeated the outgoing socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the Presidential election, and went on to challenge Jacques Chirac and obtained 17.79% of the vote. However it seemed with Nicolas Sarkozy that the Front National had been marginalised and was no longer a threat.
This month however IFOP a French polling agency carried out a survey of voting intentions for the upcoming 2012 election, and there has been a dramatic rise in support for the far right (full survey).
Marine LePen, daughter of Jean Marie LePen would achieve in the first round 14% a figure never achieved in polls by the national Front even before the 2002 election.
This attitude is confirmed by the rise in the right wing voting public’s attitude to electoral alliance in local elections between the UMP (right wing party supporting President Sarkozy) and the National Front. Never since 1998 has there been such a level of support for said agreements. Currently 32% of UMP sympathisers would be (36% in 1998) (full survey).
It must however be emphasised that a strong majority of UMP supporters remain categorically opposed to breaching the sanitary quarantine which the National Front has been kept in lately. Still this clearly shows a social malaise in the country and this rise remains a worrying trend.