Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Europe's 'Political Earthquake': Far Right Win in France Shakes Established Parties

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Europe's 'Political Earthquake': Far Right Win in France Shakes Established Parties

Article excerpt

France's far right, anti-immigration National Front party nabbed a historic win last night in the European elections, with hopes now set on dissolving the National Assembly and creating an alliance with Eurosceptics. France's ruling Socialist Party is calling it a "political earthquake."

Shortly after exit poll results were announced, National Front (FN) party leader Marine Le Pen was already claiming victory. With preliminary estimates giving the FN a steady lead of 25 percent over the center-right UMP's 20.6 percent and the Socialist Party's 14.2 percent, Ms. Le Pen said the French people had spoken loud and clear.

"[Our people] want politics by the French, for the French, and with the French. They don't want to be led anymore from outside, to submit to laws," Le Pen said from her party's headquarters in Paris's western suburb of Nanterre.

"We must build another Europe, a free Europe of sovereign nations and one in which cooperation is freely decided. Tonight is a massive rejection of the European Union," she said, calling on President Francois Hollande to dissolve the National Assembly.

"What else can the president do after such a rejection?" she said.

The National Front's win has caused a hailstorm of commentary and shock from opposing parties. While opinion polls from earlier this month showed the FN taking the lead in the European Elections, some observers were surprised to see it actually happen.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the election results "a grave moment for France.

"The rejection of others is not the French way, and it's not the image we want of France," Mr. Valls said, in reference to the FN's anti-immigration stance.

The FN registered its best results in any national election - topping those from the 2002 presidential election, when Le Pen's father and former party leader Jean-Marie famously made it into the second round with nearly 18 percent of the vote. …

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