Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
National Front (France)
- This article is about the French political party, not the WWII French resistance movement Front National.
The Front National (National Front in English; acronym: FN) is a right-wing reactionary political party in France, often accused of being racist on account of its campaigning against immigration. The party was founded and is still headed by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972 and is generally considered to be of the far-right, although Le Pen denies this qualification.
The Front National has a security branch called Department of Protection-Security, which some argue is an illegal armed formation.
Jean-Marie Le Pen has led the party since its foundation. Other major members are:
Other prominent members include:
- Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie's daughter, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in the 2002 regional elections in the Île-de-France région
Occasionally, Le Pen's leadership has been questioned. In a widely publicized move, Bruno Mégret and other major National Front members split away in 1998, alleging that Le Pen's recurrent verbal provocations and management led to the National Front staying in a sterile and marginal opposition, without any possibility of gaining power. 
The political platform of the Front National is mainly focused on the control of immigration, the repatriation of illegal immigrants and the priority of French citizens over foreigners for access to jobs and social services: in a standardized pamphlet delivered to all French electors in the 1995 presidential election, Jean-Marie Le Pen proposed the "sending back" of "3 million non-Europeans" out of France, by "humane and dignified means".  However, in the campaign for the 2002 French presidential election, the stress was more on issues of law and order – one of the recurrent themes of the National Front is tougher law enforcement and higher sentences for crimes, and the reinstatement of the death penalty.
The National Front regularly campaigns against the "establishment", which encompasses the other political parties as well as most journalists. Le Pen lumped all major parties (PC, PS, UDF, RPR) into the "Gang of Four" (an allusion to Communist China's "Cultural Revolution"). According to Front rhetoric, the French right-wing parties are not true right-wing parties, and are almost undistinguishable from the "Socialo-Communist" left; the corruption "establishment" is betraying France, and opposes by all means the coming of the Front.
Other main proposals include:
- greater independence from the European Union and other international organizations; in 2002, withdrawal from the Euro was suggested, but the suggestion was then largely withdrawn;
- the establishment of tariffs or other protectionistic measures against cheap imports threatening the local agriculture or industry;
- a return to more traditional values
The Front National has been elected into office in a few towns, which have typically been plagued by unemployment and tension between local people and immigrants. The party has tended to cut back on social services for immigrants as well as cultural activities deemed "anti-family" or "multicultural." Spending has been redirected to the municipal police and other services.
In Orange the Front National reduced school spending by 50%. In Vitrolles 150 civil employees were fired, while the police force was extended from 34 to 70 agents. During the election campaign members of the Department of Protection-Security shot and killed 17-year old Ibrahim Ali. In Vitrolles the party sought to give 500 euro to each French baby born, but was unable to for constitutional reasons. In Vitrolles the director of the cinema was fired because he had shown a movie about homosexuality and AIDS.
In the 2002 presidential election many commentators were shocked when Jean-Marie Le Pen acquired second-most votes and entered the second voting round. Almost all had expected the second ballot to be between Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin. This result came after the electoral campaign had increasingly focused on law and order issues, with some particularly striking cases of youth delinquence having caught the attention of the media; furthermore, Jospin had been weakened by multiple candidacies from his own political block. The election brought the two round voting system into question as well as raising many concerns about apathy and the way in which the left had become so divided.
- Front National homepage
- The Guardian: The true face of the National Front
- 1995 presidential election
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