French public warming to National Front: poll

15th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 14 (AFP) - France's xenophobic far-right National Front (FN) party is gradually winning acceptance among part of the French public, according to a new poll published on Wednesday.

PARIS, Dec 14 (AFP) - France's xenophobic far-right National Front (FN) party is gradually winning acceptance among part of the French public, according to a new poll published on Wednesday.

Thirty-nine percent of people found the party's anti-immigration stance "unacceptable", five points less than last year and nine percent less than in 1997, according to the TNS-Sofres survey published in Le Monde newspaper.

Fourteen percent of respondents said they found the positions of National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen to be "just", while 43 percent said they were excessive, with the remaining four percent expressing no opinion.

Sixty-six percent thought that the FN represented a threat to democracy, down from 70 percent three years ago, when Le Pen sent shockwaves across Europe by making it to the second round of France's presidential elections.

One third believed the far-right leader would get through to the second round of the 2007 presidential vote, and 29 percent said they hoped that he would, according to the poll of 1,000 people conducted on December 7-8.

Marine Le Pen, the FN leader's daughter, told RTL radio that the poll showed the party was recruiting new supporters.

"It is no longer a protest vote," she said.

Critics of France's centre-right government have accused it of pandering to the far-right by toughening its line on crime and immigration, especially in the wake of the recent outbreak of rioting in high-immigration French suburbs.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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