Nicolas Sarkozy's legitimization of the Front National: background and perspectives

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Abstract

In the 'poor' result achieved by Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2007 presidential elections, many commentators saw the demise of the Front National. However, when asked by a journalist whether it was the end of her father's political career, Marine Le Pen smilingly replied: 'I don't think so. In any case, this is the victory of his ideas!' In this question and answer lies the whole story of the Front National and its impact on mainstream politics in the past two decades. First, Le Pen's defeat was exaggerated, the same way his victory had been in 2002. What Mondon argues in this paper is that the 2002 presidential elections did act as an 'earthquake' within French politics. However, this 'earthquake' did not trigger a tsunami of support for Jean-Marie Le Pen, but rather a tidal wave of misinformation and misunderstanding as to the real significance of the election results. By concentrating on the 2002 and 2007 presidential elections, Mondon highlights how this reaction led to the consecration of right-wing populist politics, best exemplified in the landslide election of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. He also provides an insight into the slippery slope Sarkozy's government took after its election, leading to an extremely rightward-leaning 2012 presidential campaign and new heights for the Front National.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-40
Number of pages19
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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