The French mainstream and the front national’s electoral fortunes
The European mainstream and the populist radical right
During the last three decades, the Front National (FN – National Front) has been the most successful PRR party in Western Europe. Notwithstanding the predictions of this PRR party’s imminent collapse, since 2007 the FN has managed to reverse its slump and has attained new peaks of electoral support at both the 2002 and 2012 ballots. Within this context, the chapter explores the potential inter-relationship between the French mainstream’s strategic choices regarding immigration control and integration, and the FN’s subsequent electoral fortunes. The chapter identifies a growing discrepancy between increased levels of salience during the electoral campaigns and contracting levels of public concern and hostility towards immigration and integration. This trend reflects the mainstream parties’ departure from the dismissive strategies adopted during the 2002 election and throughout the presidential election that followed, while the FN, on the other hand, maintained its anti-immigration discourse.