France: Who Said “No”?
[BORDEAUX, FRANCE] The European elections that were held from May 22 to 25 in the 28 member states of the European Union were a revelation of how exasperated Europeans were about the framework of the Union. On Sunday evening the results were announced; in three countries Eurosceptic parties which were clearly against the Europe of Brussels had come out on top.
In France, the National Front obtained a historic 24.95% of the votes cast, i.e. 4.7 million votes. This final vote count ranks the National Front first among France’s political parties, approximately five points ahead of the UMP (France’s center-right party), and allows Marine Le Pen to become the undisputed leader of the opposition to President François Hollande. The President is seeing the Socialist Party (his own party!) sink even lower than the point it reached following municipal elections in March. Indeed, this is more than a setback; it is a real rout that has trounced the French left as a whole and the Socialist Party most of all. With only 13.79% of the votes cast, the President’s party polled worse in the European elections than at any point since its inception in 1979. As reported by the website of the daily newspaper Le Monde, the Socialists polled even more poorly than in 1994, when they had 14.5% of the vote. The ruling party and its allies in the Left Radical Party have swayed only a little over 2 million voters, which from now on calls into question the legitimacy of a president who is supported by a mere 6% of the electorate.
The rest of the left is not doing better: the environmentalist Green party Ecologie Les Verts obtained only 8.7% of the vote and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’ Front of the Left, a coalition of Communists and other extreme left-wing movements, obtained only 6.6%. The situation on the right is no better; it remains mired in its divisions and contradictions and most of its leaders are involved in multiple financial affairs. The UMP does not appear to be a credible opposition party in the eyes of most French people.
Amid the critical situation that France has been facing for years, the National Front has managed to appear as the only political force capable of opposing the diktats of the European Union.
The gamble of Marine Le Pen, to make the movement created by her father in 1972 France’s top ranking political party, became a reality on May 25th. It led in five of the eight French electoral districts, with scores ranging from 32% in the North-West constituency where Marine Le Pen was running to 24% in the Greater South-West, where the candidate was Vice President Louis Aliot. In districts of Ile-de- France (the area centered on Paris), the geopolitical scientist Aymeric Chauprade was at the top of the list, and in the West, the National Front’s candidates polled behind those of the UMP, but still accounted for nearly 18% of the vote. In the Overseas Constituency, the National Front obtained 10% of votes. These exceptional results, which were more than double the best results the FN had ever achieved before in European elections (11.73% in 1989), allow the party of Marine Le Pen to send 24 MPs to the European Parliament. This figure makes the National Front the first Eurosceptic party within the European institutions and will help to establish an anti-European parliamentary group.
Indeed, the National Front’s results are only the tip of a genuine wave of Euroscepticism. Several parties, such as UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) and the Danish People’s Party, which are bitter enemies of the technocrats of Brussels, came out on top in their respective countries. Let’s recall that UKIP asked that a referendum be held on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that a referendum would take place in 2017, but given Sunday’s results, it should be advanced.
Across Europe, the Eurosceptic and patriots’ groups rose. In Austria FPÖ, the Freedom Party of Austria, polled 20% and four of its candidates were elected; in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders' PVV (Party for Freedom) had three of its candidates elected. In Hungary, Viktor Orban’s Fidezs obtained 51% of the vote; Jobbik received 15% of the vote and will send three to the European Parliament. These two parties, the first a Eurosceptic party which hopes to reform the EU’s interior and the second a patriotic party, symbolize the peoples’ distrust of the elites throughout Europe.
In total, more than 140 Eurosceptic MPs will sit in the European Parliament within several groups, at least one of which will be led by the National Front and include its allies, the FPÖ (Austria), the PVV (the Netherlands), the Northern League (Italy), the Vlaams Belang (Belgium) and the Swedish Democrats. This political group may be able to be a credible alternative to the current European project; they represent a Europe of nations which have been welded together by their Christian heritage which rely heavily on Russia.
The underlying reasons for the Eurosceptic groups’ performance, although predictable for weeks, may be found in the violent economic and civilizational crisis which currently afflicts Europe. In France, the deleterious political environment that has existed since the election of François Hollande as President of the Republic in 2012 is sharply accentuated by French mistrust of their political class and, more broadly, their elites. It is possible that the National Front’s first place ranking on Sunday night is the revenge of the French who voted "No" (by 55% of the vote) in the 2005 referendum on the European Constitution. This popular mandate was brushed aside by Nicolas Sarkozy who, in order to please France’s pro-European oligarchy, shifted the responsibility for the ratification to the French Parliament, thus flouting the popular vote. It is not surprising that the UMP now finds itself behind the National Front.
The second detonator which allowed the National Front to rise in the first place was, without a doubt, the attempt by the government to violate nature with the bill on gay marriage and the introduction of gender theory. Faced with this disruption of the natural order, the National Front alone, among the entire French political class, has opted for a coherent discourse. Moreover, the vast popular movement that rose with the March for All and the French Spring last year allowed the French to meet with elected officials and National Front activists. This proximity in the demonstrations in 2013 helped forge links between the National Front and the people of the right, who had been disoriented by the political poverty of their representatives.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira’s law which legalizes gay marriage brought down another cultural barrier which is historically rooted in France, uniting the conservative values of French nationals with those of many of its immigrants. The department of Seine Saint-Denis, one of those which has been most affected by immigration, gave Aymeric Chauprade and the National Front the lead in Sunday’s elections, with 20.44%. This department, which had cheered on François Hollande in 2012, has made the left pay for its willingness to force the imposition of a disruption of civilization on France.
The ascent to power of patriotic movements and parties within the institutions of Europe may compel those institutions to shift their politics and develop a greater consideration for the interests of the people. This is only the beginning of a movement which must replace the technocratic Europe of Brussels with a Christian Europe, a Europe that is for its people and for the millennium-old civilization that we have continually promoted on our internet platform, “Views & Values”.