France veers to the right as National Front gains support

Like the Tea Party in the U.S. and the U.K. Independence Party in Britain, France’s National Front is giving the country’s government a massive right-wing headache.

After coming in third at the French 2012 presidential election, the National Front looks set to gain more votes as it heads into European parliamentary elections next year – even though it is calling for end of the very body to which it wants to be elected. However, commentators tell CNBC the impact on the French economy of the National Front’s policies could be disastrous.

As austerity continues to be felt across Europe and governments struggle to fight unemployment, far-right parties have surged in opinion polls. The French National Front has garnered strong popular support since it was founded in 1972 on a hard-line anti-immigration, anti-Europe ticket. In 2002 , party founder Jean-Marie le Pen beat the Socialist party into the second round of the presidential elections with 16.86 percent of votes.

Since taking over from her father in 2011, Marine Le Pen has picked up the torch and the party has seen its popularity rise further. In the 2012 presidential elections, she came in third, but still managed to beat her father’s score with 17.9 percent of votes. And more recently, the party came back in the limelight, once again challenging the status quo, when one of its candidates won the Brignoles county elections in the south of the country with 53.9 percent of votes.

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