Topless FEMEN activists wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and National Front leader Marine Le Pen protested outside the Henin-Beaumont voting station on Sunday, as Le Pen arrived to cast her ballot.
Topless demonstrators from the Femen activist group have caused a commotion as they staged a stunt against Marine Le Pen outside a polling station where the far-right presidential candidate was heading to vote.
Around six topless Femen activists were detained Sunday morning after jumping out of an SUV limo wearing masks of Le Pen and United States President Donald Trump.
Police and security forces quickly forced them into police vans, confiscating their signs.
Le Pen voted at the station shortly after without further disruption.
The election is taking place amid heightened security. The government has mobilized more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect polling stations. (more)
the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen’s presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.Donald Trump has said
The US president said the shooting would “probably help” Ms Le Pen in Sunday’s election, because she is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”
“Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election,” he said.
US presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Mr Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying: “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”
Cancelling visits and meetings on Friday, candidates traded blows across the airwaves as it emerged that the Isil-backed gunman had been kept in custody just 24 hours in February despite attempts to procure weapons to murder police.
Xavier Jugelé, 37, a policeman who had been deployed in the 2015 Bataclan attack, was killed in the shooting.
Ms Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, blasted the mainstream “naive” Left and Right for failing to get tough on Islamism, calling for France to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.
François Fillon, the mainstream conservative candidate, pledged an “iron fist” in the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” – his priority if elected. “We are at war, it’s either us or them,” said the conservative, whose campaign has been weighed down by allegations he gave his British wife a “fake job”.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist, whom critics dismiss as a soft touch, hit back at claims shutting borders and filling French prisons would solve the problem, saying: “There’s no such thing as zero risk. Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful.”
Sticking to his campaign agenda, far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon told everyone to keep a “cool head” as he took part in a giant picnic.
A last-minute Odoxa poll taken after the attack suggested that Mr Macron was still on course to come first in Sunday’s first round, with Ms Le Pen just behind and through to the May 7 runoff. Read the rest of this entry »
The patriotic revolution continues.
Daniel Greenfield writes: The Dutch Labor Party used to dominate Maastricht. The ancient city gave its name to the Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union. In this election, the Labor Party fell from a quarter of the vote to a twentieth.
Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which advocates withdrawing from the EU, is now the largest party in the birthplace of the European Union.
And the growing strength of the Freedom Party can be felt not only on the banks of the Maas River, but across the waterways of the Netherlands. A new wind of change has blown off the North Sea and ruffled feathers in Belgisch Park.
In The Hague, where Carnegie’s Peace Palace hosts the World Court while the humbler Noordeinde Palace houses King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the internationalist institutions colliding with the nationalist ones, the United Nations rubbing up against the Dutch parliament and Supreme Court, the Freedom Party has become the second largest party despite the 15% Muslim population.
In Rotterdam, where Muslim rioters shouted, “Allahu Akbar” and anti-Semitic slurs and where Hamas front groups are organizing a conference, the Freedom Party is now the second largest political party. In that ancient city on the Rotte that had the first Muslim mayor of a major European city, Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of the Labor Party who was being groomed for Prime Minister, estimates are that Labor fell from 32 percent to just 6 percent. That is strikingly similar to what took place in Maastricht.
But nearly half of Rotterdam is made up of immigrants. Muslims make up 13% of the population. But turnout hit 72% and after the Muslim riots, the Freedom Party only narrowly trails the ruling VVD.
The Freedom Party has become the largest party in Venlo while the Labor Party has all but vanished.
And that is the real story of the Dutch election. Read the rest of this entry »
PARIS – With the polls narrowing and one of her main rivals embroiled in an expenses scandal, far-right leader Marine Le Pen could feasibly become French president in May, senior politicians and commentators say.
“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected.”
— Jean-Pierre Raffarin
At the headquarters of her National Front (FN) party in Nanterre, outside Paris, officials believe the same forces that led to last year’s Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in November’s U.S. election could carry Le Pen to power.
Even some of her rivals concede a victory for the far-right firebrand is possible.
“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected,” former conservative Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said this month.
Another former premier, the Socialist Manuel Valls, has also warned of the “danger” of assuming that Le Pen cannot win.
Polls show that support for the anti-immigrant and anti-EU candidate has been consistent for four years now.
Since 2013, surveys have shown the blond 48-year-old will progress through the first round to reach the runoff stage in France’s two-stage presidential election.
Pollsters now note that although Le Pen is not currently forecast to win the all-important showdown on May 7, she has whittled down the projected gap between herself and her main challengers.
The legal woes of her conservative challenger Francois Fillon have especially played into Le Pen’s hands.
When Fillon saw off pre-contest favorite Alain Juppe to clinch the right-wing nomination in late November, polls showed he would win 67 percent of the vote in the runoff to 33 percent for Le Pen.
Then in January allegations surfaced that Fillon had paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros for parliamentary work she might not have done. Surveys now show Le Pen would score 44 percent to 56 percent for Fillon if the second round were held today.
The pressure on 62-year-old Fillon moved up a notch Friday when prosecutors announced he will face a full judicial investigation into the claims.
A similar picture emerges when Le Pen’s projected second-round score is compared to that of Emmanuel Macron, the pro-business centrist who has moved from outsider to genuine contender in the space of a few months.
Although Macron’s performance against Le Pen has only been tested since January, the winning margin has dropped from 30 points to around 20 in a month.
The latest Ifop poll gives Macron 61.5 percent to 38.5 for the far-right standard bearer. Read the rest of this entry »
For a small duck it packs one hell of a peck.
PARIS (AP) One-time French presidential front-runner Francois Fillon is slowly finding his dream of winning the Elysee Palace under water.
And it’s because of the revelations of one old-school, eight-page satirical newspaper with ink that comes off on your hands: “Le Canard Enchaine,” or “The Chained Duck.”
The dirt-digging weekly’s claims that Fillon’s political clout helped secure handsomely paid jobs for his wife, Penelope, and two of their children are the just the latest scoops from the 102-year-old newspaper which is showing that traditional gumshoe reporting and the ink-and-paper format still have value in the increasingly online world.
“‘Canard’ or ‘duck’ was taken from French slang for ‘newspaper.'”
With its old-school typography, puns on every page and thick, rough paper, “Le Canard” may seem like an unlikely source of hard-nosed political journalism.
But the controversy has seriously hurt the conservative Fillon and has upended the race for France’s spring presidential election. It has pecked away at his popularity as his critics cry foul. Fillon, who was France’s prime minister from 2007 to 2012, has denied any wrongdoing.
The paper first published the allegations against Fillon on Jan. 25 and then came out with a second report containing further accusations on Wednesday. Copies of the latest edition were hard to come by in Paris.
Financial prosecutors are investigating whether Penelope Fillon actually worked, as he claims, as her husband’s parliamentary aide or whether her job was fake, which would be an illegal use of public funds.
“Le Canard Enchaine,” available in kiosques and proudly not online, is a modern anachronism that flies in the face of claims that old-school newspapers are relics of the past.
The weekly, costing 1.20 euros ($1.29), continues to be an influential player in the French media landscape, and a go-to for whistle-blowers — despite dwindling newspaper sales across the world. The paper, which has no advertisements, is mainly financed through newsstand sales and subscriptions.
Editor Louis-Marie Horeau recently revealed his paper’s winning journalistic methods for exposing the so-called Penelope-gate scandal. Read the rest of this entry »
By suppressing debate about Islam, nationalism and terror, the left set the stage for today’s backlash, says Sohrab Ahmari in The Wall Street Journal.
Sohrab Ahmari writes: Donald Trump’s double-layer fence along America’s southern border, and his plan to suspend all immigration from terror-producing countries, are dramatic and consequential pieces of public policy. But they’re also palliative symbols. The message they send to the president’s supporters is: “Your days of anxiety are behind you. We will be a coherent nation once more.”
Politicians across the West are beginning to tell their voters the same thing in what is shaping up to be the widest rollback of the freedom of movement in decades.
It’s not just right-wing nationalists like Marine Le Pen in France or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Centrists get it, too. Some, like Angela Merkel, are still-reluctant restrictionists. Others, like Theresa May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French presidential aspirant François Fillon, are more forthright. All have wised up to the popular demand for drastically lower immigration rates.
The paradox here is that freedom of movement is unraveling now because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give ground on any of these fronts, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.
Liberals “won” the debate about the link between Islamist ideology and terrorism.
For eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government eschewed even the term “Islamism.” The preferred nomenclature created the ludicrous effect that U.S. service members were sent to war against people passionate about “violent extremism.” But voters could read and hear about jihadists offering up their actions to Allah before opening automatic fire on shoppers and blasphemous cartoonists. Read the rest of this entry »
The French say that things often come in threes. After Brexit, a Trump victory in the US, will Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election next May? She is certainly hoping she will be no exception to the rule.
Philip Kyle reports: “Their world is crumbling. Ours is taking shape.” It is with this tweet that MEP Florian Philippot, Marine Le Pen’s right hand man, welcomed Donald Trump’s presidential win. A few minutes earlier, Le Pen, herself, congratulated the President-elect and the “free American people”. Stunned by Trump’s historical win, the eyes of the world turned towards France.
“According to an insider, Le Pen did not believe Trump could win, nor did she believe a few months ago that the Brits would vote to leave the EU. The de-globalisation process which seems to have taken everyone by surprise, herself included, has forced all other candidates across the French political spectrum to review their campaign methods and their political discourse.”
The French say that things often come in threes. After Brexit, a Trump victory in the US, will Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election next May? She is certainly hoping she will be no exception to the rule.
The 48-year-old far right leader has been quite discreet since the beginning of the school year. It is part of her strategy: let the conservatives and the socialists fight among themselves, sit back and watch her approval ratings soar while they do so.
“Trump’s victory was too good, however, for Le Pen to stay silent. Tweets, interviews and even an appearance on the Andrew Marr show: the leader of the National Front was keen to capitalise on the triumph of another candidate who, like her, styles himself as an “anti-elite” leader.”
Every poll has, for some months now, consistently shown that Le Pen will qualify for the second round of the presidential election. Most of them even show that she will be ahead of all other candidates after the first round. Le Pen will officially launch her campaign in February, once both the conservative and socialist primaries are over and once she knows who her main competitors are. Before then, there is no need for her to get too involved.
“Every poll has, for some months now, consistently shown that Le Pen will qualify for the second round of the presidential election. Most of them even show that she will be ahead of all other candidates after the first round.”
Trump’s victory was too good, however, for Le Pen to stay silent. Tweets, interviews and even an appearance on the Andrew Marr show: the leader of the National Front was keen to capitalise on the triumph of another candidate who, like her, styles himself as an “anti-elite” leader.
According to an insider, Le Pen did not believe Trump could win, nor did she believe a few months ago that the Brits would vote to leave the EU. The de-globalisation process which seems to have taken everyone by surprise, herself included, has forced all other candidates across the French political spectrum to review their campaign methods and their political discourse.
This is particularly true of the conservative candidates who will be facing each other in the first round of the primary on Sunday. The contest seems to all come down to one question: who is best equipped to defeat Marine Le Pen next May?
Read the rest of this entry »
Calling Le Pen, Clinton, Trump, and other right-wing populists ‘fascists’ obscures more than it clarifies.
Sheri Berman writes: As right-wing movements have mounted increasingly strong challenges to political establishments across Europe and North America, many commentators have drawn parallels to the rise of fascism during the 1920s and 1930s. Last year, a French court ruled that opponents of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, had the right to call her a “fascist”—a right they have frequently exercised. This May, after Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, nearly won that country’s presidential election, The Guardian asked, “How can so many Austrians flirt with this barely disguised fascism?” And in an article that same month about the rise of Donald Trump, the Republican U.S. presidential candidate, the conservative columnist Robert Kagan warned, “This is how fascism comes to America.” “Fascist” has served as a generic term of political abuse for many decades, but for the first time in ages, mainstream observers are using it seriously to describe major politicians and parties.
Fascism is associated most closely with Europe between the world wars, when movements bearing this name took power in Italy and Germany and wreaked havoc in many other European countries. Although fascists differed from country to country, they shared a virulent opposition to democracy and liberalism, as well as a deep suspicion of capitalism. They also believed that the nation—often defined in religious or racial terms—represented the most important source of identity for all true citizens. And so they promised a revolution that would replace liberal democracy with a new type of political order devoted to nurturing a unified and purified nation under the guidance of a powerful leader. Read the rest of this entry »
Paris (AFP) – France’s far-right National Front (FN) failed to win a single region in elections on Sunday despite record results in the first round, early estimates showed, as voters flocked to traditional parties to keep it out of power.
The leader of the anti-immigration FN, Marine Le Pen, lost out to the centre-right alliance in her northern region after the ruling Socialists pulled out of the race ahead of the second round.
Source: AFP/Yahoo News
Michael Barone writes: The National Front’s strong showing in the French regional elections, leading all other parties with 28 percent of the vote nationwide, has been widely noted. Looking at the regional results, I notice that the two strongest regions for the FN (the French acronym), in which its candidates, both female members of the extended Le Pen family, received 41 percent of the votes, were about as far from being political twins as possible.
National Front party could win two regions in local elections next month and might get as many votes as its conservative and centrist rivals combined.
France’s anti-immigrant, anti-euro National Front party could win two regions in local elections next month and might get as many votes as its conservative and centrist rivals combined, according to opinion polls published on Sunday.
Marine Le Pen’s National Front would get 28 percent of votes in the first round of elections starting Dec. 6, the same as a combination of parties including Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans and the centrist MoDem, according to an Ifop opinion poll published in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. President Francois Hollande’s Socialists would get 22 percent, with as many as 54 percent of voters abstaining, according to the survey…(read more)
Source: Bloomberg Business
An increasing number of French Jews are turning to Marine Le Pen’s Front National, despite the party’s past reputation for anti-Semitism, as they now see Muslims as a bigger threat.
Roger Cukierman, the Chairman of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions, said the party was no longer violent and that its current leader had never used anti-Semitic language, The Times reports.
The statement comes as at least 14 percent of France’s half a million Jews look set to support Mrs Le Pen in the country’s Presidential elections in 2017.
“Many Jews now see second and third generation Muslim immigrants, rather than the far-right, as the biggest threat to their community’s safety.”
The feisty blonde daughter of Jean-Marie has been consistently rising in national polling, but has seen a surge of support following the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket terrorist attacks earlier this year which left 20 dead.
Many Jews now see second and third generation Muslim immigrants, rather than the far-right, as the biggest threat to their community’s safety.
“The National Front is a party for which I would never vote but it’s a party which today doesn’t commit violent acts. Let’s be clear: all the violence [against Jews] is now committed by young Muslims,” Mr Cukierman said.
His comments sparked a row among French Jews, some of whom see the Le Pen family as political descendants of the Vichy regime which collaborated with the Nazis following the occupation in 1940.
Serge Klarsfeld, the celebrated French Nazi-hunter, whose father was among the 75,000 Jews deported from France to the death camps in the East, remains sceptical of the party.
A topless member of the radical protest group Femen used a metal chisel to stab and bash in the face of Putin’s statue in a famed Paris wax museum on Thursday.
Police arrested the activist shortly after the attack, which happened near statues of US President Barack Obama and recently abdicated Spanish King Juan Carlos, both of which escaped without a scratch.
Putin is to arrive in France on Thursday to attend the 70th anniversary of D-Day events, which have attracted scores of world leaders to France. Putin arrives under the cloud of the confrontation between western powers and Russia over the annexation of Crimea. Read the rest of this entry »
Paris (AFP) – Claire Doyen reports: Thousands of students rallied across France Thursday to protest against the anti-immigration National Front party, whose historic success in EU polls they said threatened democracy.
Waving banners that read “No to the National Front”, and “Wake up, France,” demonstrators rallied in Lyon, in the east of the country, as well as in Paris, Toulouse, Rouen, Amiens, Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.
“We respect the result of the European elections, of democracy, but we do not accept the values of the National Front (FN),” said Silvio Philippe, one of the organisers of the Lyon rally. “French democracy is in danger.”
The FN won a nationwide election for the first time on Sunday, topping mainstream political parties to clinch 24 of France’s 74 seats in the new European parliament.
The result, which was echoed by similar gains for far-right parties in other countries such as the United Kingdom, sent shock waves through the political establishment. Read the rest of this entry »