Friday, Jul. 29, 2011


On the Ballot

Party: Front National (National Front)
Leader: Marine Le Pen
Key issues: Protectionism, immigration
Seats in parliament: 0/577

Led by the daughter of its controversial former head Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party won 11% of the vote in the local elections in March 2011. Since the younger Le Pen took the reins in January, the Front National's popularity has surged, with opinion polls suggesting Le Pen could win the first round of next year's presidential election. It also holds three seats in the European Parliament.

On the Fringe

Nomad 88
The violent neo-Nazi group — which, like all neo-Nazi groups in France, is banned — came to public attention in 2008 when three of its members went on a shooting spree to "purge" the suburbs of immigrants. The perpetrators, who did not claim any victims, were sentenced to prison in 2010, along with nine other Nomad 88 members, for offenses ranging from arms possession to membership in a violent gang.

Bloc Identitaire
Founded in 2003, this nationalist political group promotes French heritage and opposes inter-racial marriage. In 2006, the group was accused of distributing pork-laden "identity soups" to homeless people in Nice, Paris, and other European capitals with the express purpose of excluding Jews and Muslims.