PARIS – Marine Le Pen’s hopes of transforming the 6.4 million votesshe received in her failed bid for France’s presidency into a majorparliamentary presence for her far-right National Front havedwindled. Even Le Pen herself may not manage to win a seat in parliamentaryelections opening with a first round this Sunday and followed by arun-off vote a week later, opinion polls say. In the highlight of an otherwise lacklustre election, Le Pen istipped to lose in the northern constituency of Henin-Beaumont tothe firebrand leftist favourite Jean-Luc Melenchon, another failedpresidential candidate. Henin-Beaumont is one of more than a dozen constituencies in whichthe National Front (FN) hopes to win parliamentary seats for thefirst time since 1986 and challenge the right-wing UMP party ofex-president Nicolas Sarkozy. Its strongest chances are in a string of constituencies in thenorth and southeast, including one where party founder Jean-MarieLe Pen’s 22-year-old granddaughter, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, isrunning.
“We will be the only and the real protectors of the French peoplewho slave away, who struggle, who just can’t handle thingsanymore,” Marine Le Pen told supporters at a recent Paris rally. Le Pen wants to pull France out of the euro and rails againstglobalisation and the “Islamisation” of her country. In an interview published in an Austrian daily on Friday she hopesfor “the collapse of the European Union, to make a Europe ofnations possible,” again. Her record score in last month’s presidential election echoedadvances by populist parties across Europe as the eurozone’slingering debt crisis fuels anger over harsh austerity measures,joblessness and ailing economies. Le Pen won 18 per cent of the vote and her party is tipped to winaround 14 per cent of the national vote in the legislativeelections, making it through to the second round run-off in dozensof constituencies.
But it may still end up with just a handful of seats or even noneat all due to France’s first-past-the-post electoral system. The Socialists and their left-wing allies have made a deal thatonly the candidate who scores best in the first round will standagain in the second round. But the UMP has refused to make asimilar deal with the National Front, so the right-wing vote willsplit in the second round in dozens of constituencies. A surveyreleased this week showed Hollande’s Socialists and other left-wingparties with 45.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of the right-wing UMPand its allies with 34 per cent. With those support levels, theSocialists and its parliamentary allies would win between 249 and291 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, with 289 seats neededto form a majority, the Ipsos-Logica poll said. Neodymium Ring Magnets
The left overall -including Melenchon’s Left Front and the Greens – would takebetween 303 and 357 seats. The UMP would win between 209 and 255seats and the right overall, excluding the far right, would take220 to 274. The National Front and the centre-right MoDem wouldboth get between zero and three seats. If that prediction comestrue, it will put paid to Le Pen’s triumphant prediction that theFN had “exploded the monopoly of the two parties” that havedominated national politics. Neodymium Block Magnets
The FN will thus likely remain afringe group that snipes from the sidelines and is treated as apariah by the mainstream parties. Hollande has received all themain political leaders at the Elysee Palace since taking over fromSarkozy, but he has pointedly failed to invite Le Pen. “Mr.Hollande is doing exactly the same as his predecessor,” said LePen. “It’s a real scandal.” Le Pen, a seasoned politician beforeshe took over the party leadership last year, has sought totranscend the bigoted image of the National Front she inheritedfrom her firebrand father. But critics say she represents the sameold hard-right party in new clothes, playing on voters’sensitivities over France’s Muslim population, estimated at up tosix million. Neodymium Bar Magnets Manufacturer
Like her father, who in 2002 scored a major upset bymaking it into the second round of the presidential election, shehas caused outrage with some outspoken comments. Last year shecompared Muslims praying in the streets outside overcrowded mosquesin France to the Nazi occupation. The only time the National Frontheld seats in the French parliament was from 1986-88 under ashort-lived proportional repesentation system.