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The lessons of the French municipal elections

December 16th, 2015

After centrist parties prevented the radical right wing from converting its first round lead into victory in France’s regional elections, commentators agree that the two traditional parties have no answers to the growing concerns of the French electorate. One even hints that they should learn from Hungary and Poland.

In Magyar Idők, Mariann Őry thinks the National Front owes its success to the unresolved immigration problem, in so far as masses of second and third generation immigrants “hate the majority”. The ruling Socialists are unable to meet the challenge, she continues, while former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s right wing reacts by borrowing arguments from “what he calls the populist right wing”. In an obvious hint at the policies of the Hungarian government and the newly elected Polish one, Őry advises Mr Sarkozy to look at “Central Europe” for a model of right-wing renewal.

In Népszabadság, András Dési, on the other hand, describes Ms Le Pen’s National Front as an extreme right wing party. (This has been the adjective used consistently in the Hungarian Press about it, since its foundation in 1972, but lately MTI, the government owned news agency stopped characterising it as “extreme,” triggering accusations that the governing forces sympathise with the National Front.)  He admits however that Ms Le Pen has made her party presentable among middle class people and fears that Mr Sarkozy’s tactic of adopting Ms Le Pen’s slogans may help the latter win the presidential elections in 2017. People may “prefer the original rather than the clone,” he writes.


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