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France's far-right Front National party won a quarter of the popular vote in May's European elections, albeit on a low turnout, as xenophobic, nationalist parties across Europe made significant gains. The result seemed to vindicate FN president Marine Le Pen's strategy of trying to change the party's image, shedding the anti-Semitism of the past and donning a cloak of respectability. But in a detailed history of the Front National published last month, researcher Valérie Igounet shows that the new image is just a veneer that cracks whenever the ghosts of the party's past rear their heads. Meanwhile the party has simply replaced Jews with Muslims as the principal target of its attacks. Igounet explains her findings to Mediapart’s Joseph Confavreux and Marine Turchi.
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