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The French hate Paris. This helps the far right – POLITICO

And while no one is bringing out the guillotine yet, the wave of support from the far right is an indication that the taboo that once kept parties like the National Rally out of power may be broken — or more probably already broken.

In 2002, when Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, shocked the country by becoming the first far-right candidate in modern history to advance to the second round of the French presidential election, Aleksandar Nikolic joined the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest the results and ultimately prevented Le Pen from achieving victory.

Then aged 15 and a member of the Young Communists, Nikolic was among those who could hardly believe that a man convicted of Holocaust denial was so close to coming to power. Indeed, his political convictions, he claims today, were forged in the anti-Le Pen media environment which then permeated popular culture.

Aleksandar Nikolic, head of the list of the far-right RN party for president of the Center Val de Loire regional council. | Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images

Today, Nikolic is a fervent defender of the young Le Pen. The region where he lives, Eure-et-Loir, was once part of France’s manufacturing heartland, dotted with factories and mines that provided middle-class jobs for thousands of French workers during “Les Trente Glorieuses”, the three-decade period of economic growth that followed the Second War worldwide.

However, globalization saw many of these factories and jobs relocated abroad, leaving large segments of the French working class disaffected and, in their minds, abandoned by the Parisian elite. It was this frustration that turned into revolt in 2018, when thousands of people flocked to Paris from rural and peri-urban areas as part of the Yellow Vest movement, symbolically seizing the most prestigious avenue of the city, the Champs-Élysées, and vandalizing the emblematic Arc de Triomphe.

By then, Marine had taken control of her father’s party and then called out the National Front, expelling him in a move that many observers said was aimed at distancing his movement from his anti-Semitic and racist remarks. In rebranding herself, Le Pen has instead sought to reposition her party as a movement defending French interests, vehemently opposing free trade deals and calling for stricter immigration rules.


Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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