France Interview

How Sarkozy's UMP gave legitimacy to the far-right Front National

After the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party in France's presidential and parliamentary elections, various prominent party figures have publicly questioned the former president's tactic of lurching to the right in a bid to poach votes from the far-right Front National (FN). Joël Gombin, a researcher at the University of Picardy who specialises in studying the FN's electorate, says this policy should be abandoned, not only because it so manifestly failed - but also because it legitimised the Front National. He spoke to Marine Turchi.

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Since the French parliamentary elections in early June, which returned a clear socialist majority, several ministers under former President Nicolas Sarkozy have begun to openly criticise Sarkozy's tactic of courting the far right with anti-immigrant sentiments in both that election and May's presidential election.

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