Summary: Support for the far-Right National Front grows in France, part of a tide sweeping through the developed nations. Here Stratfor looks at the results of the recent election, where the two major parties cooperated to suppress the NF, despite its 40% vote in the first round. While successful in the short-term, it is a tactic likely to increase alienation from the Fifth Republic. Will they use the time bought by their win to address its problems? Let’s watch. We might get ideas to help deal with our resurgent Right-wing.
France’s National Front Defeated, For Now
Stratfor, 14 December 2015
The right-wing National Front party will not control any regions in France. Despite its strong showing in the first round of elections, in which it earned more than 40% of the vote in the densely populated regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy in the north and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south, the nationalist party failed to win any districts in the second round of voting Dec. 13. However, the party led by Marine Le Pen will continue to be a key political player in the months ahead of the 2017 French presidential election.
In many ways, the results of the Dec. 13 elections are not surprising. France’s electoral system is explicitly designed to prevent extremist parties from accessing power, and it was this that prevented the National Front from winning regions in the runoff vote. In this case, France’s ruling Socialist party decided not to participate in the runoff vote in those regions where it did not have a serious chance of winning, hoping that voters would choose the center-right The Republicans party over the National Front. This is exactly what happened, and the National Front saw only a small increase in popular support between the first and the second round.
As Stratfor wrote after the first round, many voters who supported moderate forces in the first round will probably support other parties to keep the National Front from winning again.
In other words, most people who wanted to vote for the National Front did so in the first round, but only a small number of additional voters supported the party in the second round. In addition, there was a higher voter turnout in the second round, which suggests that many voters who did not participate in the first round made the conscious decision to vote in the second to prevent the National Front from winning.