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Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups The rally of the National Front with the participation of Marine Le Pen.

There are two most prominent parties in the radical nationalist wing in France. These are the National Front led by Marine Le Pen and the National Republican Movement, which split from the former in 1998.

The National Front is the oldest nationalist party in the country (founded in 1972). Its basic requirements: the cessation of further immigration from non-European countries and more severe requirements for obtaining French citizenship; return to traditional values: restricting abortions, encourage large families, preservation of French culture; protectionist policies, support for French producers, small businesses; opposition to the European integration process, a greater degree of independence from the European Union and international organizations. The National Front also had radical projects such as tax collection from companies who gained excess profits at the expense of foreign labour and the introduction of "the principle of national preference", which implies the dismissal of immigrants who would open up jobs for French citizens.

The party achieved the greatest success in the elections to the National Assembly in 1986 (35 seats) and the European Parliament in 1984 (10 seats). In the parliamentary elections in 2012 the party got two seats in the parliament. Another visible success of the party was during the presidential elections in 2012, at which Marine Le Pen came third.

Marine Le Pen tried to improve the image of her party. She stated that her father’s words about Ebola were “distorted” and “do not have any connection to the migration problem” . After anti-Semitic statements of Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen preferred to distance herself from her father, stating that he made a political mistake. Vice-President of the Party Louis Alliot called Jean-Marie Le Pen’s statement “stupid”. On June 11, National Front shut down J.M. Le Pen’s video-blog .

On June 19, Marine Le Pen was interviewed by Valeurs Actuelles where she said that her party is the best “shield for the Jewish population of France”. “There is no reason to hide that there are suspicious of anti-Semitism directed at the National Front, but I wholeheartedly deny these allegations” .

On June 25, it was reported that National Front will abandon its plans to create a coalition with the Polish Congress of the New Right in the European Parliament, after Nazi statements by Congress’ leader.

In her speeches, the leader of the far-right Marine Le Pen demands the assimilation of immigrants, especially Muslims. In the programs of Islamophobic organisations, anti-Islamic requirements are also present. These organizations often position themselves as anti-fascist, believing Islamists and all Muslims to be fascist. After European Elections, Le Pen declared a course towards “France for the French” .

Elections held in March 2014 were a huge success for the National Front. In the first round, the party got 472 council seats across the country. In the second round, National Front won 98 Mayoral positions across France, including in Frejus and Beziers, as well as 1200 council seats. However, given that France has more than 36 000 constituencies, these figures are more or less symbolic.

In fact, the only thing that prevents NF from getting a significant faction in the French parliament and local parliaments is the the two-tour system of elections that exists in France, when in the second round all opponents of the party unite against it. During local elections in March 2015 and regional elections in December 2015, National Front won first place in 43 departments from 101 and 6 regions out of 13.

Marin Le Pen is also becoming more popular. Her average rating during 2015 was 26.27%. For comparison, the average rating of President F. Holland was 20.09%. However, until December, the level of her popularity did not rise above 15%. According to polls organized in April 2016, M. Le Pen could have outrun the former president N. Sarkozy in the first round (25% against 23% or 29% versus 24%), but would have lost to former Prime Minister Alain Juppe (26% against 35%). Approximately the same number of voters (22%-25%) were ready to support the National Front in polls held in 2015.

The National Republican Movement split off from the National Front due to disagreements between the leader of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and the policy of Bruno Megre. The NRM received less than 5% of the votes in the 2002 and 2004 elections. Although political observers viewed the NRM as an extreme right-wing party, they position themselves as a classical liberal and nationalist party. The NRM stands against immigration, Islamization and the European Union, but, unlike the National Front, supports a free market and neoliberalism.

The National Republican Movement split from the National Front because of differences between National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen and Bruno Maigret’s policies. The NRM received less than 5% of the votes in the elections of 2002 and 2004. While political observers considered the NRM as extremely right-wing, they position themselves as a classical liberal and nationalist party. NRM opposes immigration, Islamization and the European Union, but in contrast to the National Front supports the free market and neo-liberalism.

There is a number of anti-Islamic (anti-immigrant) radical groups, among which are the "French renewal» (Renouveau France) which positions itself as a nationalist, Catholic and "anti-revolutionary" (in this case, as a reactionary opposition to the principles of the French Revolution of 1789) organization, "Nationalist youth", banned in 2013 for the promotion of hatred, as well as the "Generation with a national identity» («Génération identitaire») organization, that desecrated a mosque in Poitiers in October 2012. Worth a mention are organizations such as the "Republican resistance", "Secular resistance" (Riposte Laïque), "Community for Identity", "Third Way", "Equality and Reconciliation," "The New Rightist", "The League of the South" and others.

The main social and political movement of the far right, Génération identitaire, is prone to racism and intimidation of immigrants, Muslims, and political opponents. It commits illegal but not terrorist acts, such as displaying a banner with the slogan "Justice for victims of anti-white racism" during a rally in support of the BLM on June 13, 2019. The Action Force Operative (AFO) set many new trends in 2018: it includes activists between the ages of 32 and 69, several people well over 50 who served in the police, army or gendarmerie. Among them were an engineer, a lawyer, a diplomat and middle-class people. They met through the website: http://www.guerredefrance.fr/, whose online forum was the first step toward real life, survival-like meetings, and training in "civil war" against Islamization.Planned actions included poisoning halal meat in supermarkets, actions against Islamist radicals who had been released from prison, and imams and women wearing hijab chosen at random.

There was the story of the Barjols organization (2018) , which tried to organize a terrorist attack aimed at killing President Macron with a ceramic knife that cannot be detected by the X-ray security portal. The arrested terrorists were between the ages of 32 and 62, ran a Facebook page, had links to other right-wing groups and were fascinated by the army. The plot was to show that the state was unwilling and unable to effectively defend France against Islam and that self-proclaimed patriots, especially those with experience in the army and other security forces, were obliged to replace the "failed" state apparatus.

Neo-Nazi groups are few. They are a few hundred militants who do mainly by raising money for concerts, which are especially held in Alsace, Lorraine and areas adjacent to Germany and Switzerland, in order to attract as wide an international audience as possible. Several dozen neo-Nazis were enlisted in the Unitkontinental, which fought against Ukrainian forces in the Donbass and was in close contact with the anti-Semitic Russian National Unity (RNE) movement. The core of this unit was still politically active and last participated in the Yellow Vests protests in early 2019. However, not all activists of the far-right movement sided with Russia in the Donbass. A small group of French volunteers joined the Azov Battalion, and many supported the Svoboda Party as well as Right Sector. Belonging to both groups, who participated in violent incidents during the Yellow Vests, wrote graffiti showing their support for the Maidan revolution, and in December 2019 Marc de Kackere, leader of Les Zouaves, met in Kiev with Olena Semenyaka of the Azov political wing of the National Corp.

A peculiarity of the French far-right is the presence of a segment that supports Catholic fundamentalist ideology: this is the case with Civitas and Parti Nationaliste Français. As a consequence, they are more inclined to ally with like-minded foreign groups such as Italy's Forza Nuova, Greece's Golden Dawn, various factions of Spain's Phalange and Easter European parties with a strong Christian flavor. The PNF regularly visits the remnants of the former Romanian Iron Guard and Noua Dreapta, and also takes part in the Lukovo march in Sofia. This connection extends to the Russian Imperial Movement, which was banned in the EU and whose representatives are PNF guests at the annual "Day of Europe" held in Paris. This also explains why the PNF belongs to the Alliance for Peace and Freedom led by Roberto Fiore. The issue of religion, however, does not prevent the PNF from also working with the Berlin-based Europa Terra Nostra Foundation, of which the PNF is a member.

In general, right-wing extremists have no influence on mainstream society. Activist numbers have been incredibly stable for 10 years, with a core of about 1,000 hardcore activists and 2,000 sympathizers. Unofficial numbers from sources close to the police say that 390 of them legally own guns. Unofficial penitentiary administration sources say that at the time of this writing, 39 activists in the movement are in prison for offenses ranging from street fighting with political opponents to suspected terrorism. The real impact of right-wing ideas comes from the influence of the Rassemblement Nationale, led by Marine Le Pen, which has focused its efforts on the fight against immigration.

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