The Front National: Old Rhetoric, New Practices
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Under Marine Le Pen’s leadership, Front National has climbed remarkably in the polls. A debate has opened about whether the party’s Europhobic, “euro-rejectionist” nature has softened under her direction or whether her “de-demonisation” strategy is merely a veneer. This article seeks to answer this question by considering Front National’s foreign policy outlook, its attitudes towards the EU as a whole and, more specifically, by analysing its representatives’ behaviour and voting patterns in the European parliament. It becomes clear that Front National’s core message has changed little since its founding days. The notable difference is a heightened professionalism and attention to style. The party’s tone has softened to gain credibility among a wider voter base. However, the wide rift between the approaches taken by the party’s MEPs suggest Front National will need to carefully navigate the tension between its position as a party of protest and one that needs to take on the responsibility of governing in a system that requires compromise.
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