Fifty years on: role of French Algerians in domestic politics


Following Algeria's independence from France in 1962 around 800,000 Algerians of French descent, known as 'Pieds-Noirs', resettled in mainland France, many of them in the south of the country. It has long been assumed that the presence of so many of these repatriated settlers was a major factor in the political rise of the far-right Front National in the Mediterranean region of France. But as Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis reports, the supposed influence of this ageing group of voters may largely be a myth.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

In 1962 the French Mediterranean, from Perpignan to Nice, welcomed a good two thirds of the estimated 800,000 Algerians of French descent – known as Pieds-Noirs - who resettled in France after Algerian independence. Since the 1980s this same stretch of coastline has also been the main bastion of the far-right in France. In the local elections in 1995, for example, the four local communes or towns won by the far-right Front National (FN) - Marignane, Orange, Toulon and Vitrolles - were all in the south.