The growing threat to France’s mainstream political leaders posed by Marine Le Pen, head of France’s far-right National Front, has been underscored by an opinion poll putting her in the lead for the first time in the race for the next presidential election.
The charismatic Ms Le Pen has overtaken former centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy in voting intentions if the first round of the election were held today, with socialist incumbent François Hollande trailing in third, according to the Ifop poll.Ms Le Pen scored 26 per cent in the poll, up from 24 per cent in the last sounding taken in April, while Mr Sarkozy, widely expected to announce a political comeback in September, slipped six points to 25 per cent following court accusations of corruption levelled against him in early July.
The FN has been on the rise since Ms Le Pen took over leadership of the party from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011. She came third behind Mr Hollande and Mr Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election with 18 per cent of the vote and the party has since grown as Mr Hollande’s popularity has slumped in the face of recession and rising unemployment.
“Far right” in France is approximately equivalent to moderate Republican here in the U.S. The Frogs elected Hollande to steal more money for them, but unfortunately for Mr. Hollande, there wasn’t any more money to steal.