EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

France – Netherlands: Radical Right Has Numbers In Political Stand-offs …

  • April 27th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

sarkozy-2004-ec.jpg lepen-2.jpg  hollande-francois.jpgJockeying for position among candidates in the French Presidential contest has focused much on the  strong vote recorded by the anti-immigration National Front (FN party) , in the first round of voting last Sunday.

In the same week, a sister party in the Dutch parliament, the Freedom Party (PVV), has been showing off its numbers (24 out of 150 seats), by holding up the passage of an austerity budget – and so forcing the resignation of the centre-right coalition government.

SHOW-DOWN IN FRANCE

In France, the National front leader, Marine Le Pen, has rebuked the incumbent President, Nicolas Sarkozy, over declarations he has been making since the poll, proposing strong cut-backs in immigration, to defend the national “way of life”.

She has demanded a reversal of earlier policy declarations, that Mr Sarkozy’s party, the conservative UMP, would never make an electoral pact with the FN; calling for an exchange of preferences in second-round voting at forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Mr Sarkozy’s embarrassment follows his second-place in the first round of voting for re-election, at 26.1%, behind Francois Hollande, from the Socialist party with 28.8%.

As the incumbent he is vulnerable also to taunts about promising actions he did not realise during five years in office.

He is the first incumbent President of France to trail in a first round of voting, and opinion polls are persistent against him for the second-round shown-down with Mr Hollande, set for Sunday week, 6.5.12  – 54% against 46%.

TAKING POSITIONS

Mr Hollande was this week holding to his set positions.

He has declared for a program orientated towards economic growth, stimulus rather than austerity during slow economic times; and is declaring faith in the European Union program for assisting debt-strapped member countries.

As for Ms Le Pen; late counting has shown at times an improvement in her already-strong showing of 18.5% — pushing towards 20%.

She out-stripped the performance of her predecessor as leader of the radical right-wing movement, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, by over 2.5%.

RISE IN SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL FRONT

Analysts have been predictably busy reading into the impetus for such an outcome.

A poll in Le Monde, of people who voted for the FN for the first time, established the main reason as resentment of the impacts of immigration from the  Middle East, and of the growing presence of Islam in France.

Pollsters from Cevipof (Political Science research centre) said that concern was central to multiple bad-feeling, a psychological  “confluence de malaises” – coming together of illnesses, worries or sense of things-gone-wrong.

On immigration the respondents were saying they felt excluded, invaded, and “strangers in their own country.”

Said a woman in Nice: “I live in a town full of Arabs, who are asserting themselves  more and more with their clothes, veils and  beards — their difference”.

The poll as reported identified “xenophobic discourse”, e.g. elaborated concerns about crime among gangs of immigrant youths.

DUTCH DEALS

In the Netherlands, the Dutch caretaker government, headed by the right-of-centre liberal party (VVD), late on Thursday (26.4.12) got the numbers in parliament to put through its budget, by bringing in votes from small parities on its left.

The agreement might end the impasse caused by the PVV’s withdrawal of its support for the government, objecting to austerity measures that were demanded by the European Union, as part of its standardisation of policy on handling debt.

The right wing group said its constituents could not withstand cuts in services, such as pensions.

More centrist-orientated parties argued that reductions were needed to shore up credit-worthiness of in the fifth-largest European economy, one of a small number still sustaining an AAA credit rating on commercial markets.

The Wall Street Journal, watching with keen interest, summed up the resolution this week:

“The Dutch caretaker government secured a parliamentary majority … after clinching the support of a fifth political party.

“Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager had been engaged in talks with three left-leaning opposition parties in an effort to reach agreement on the 2013 budget ahead of a key debate in Parliament later in the day and a European Commission deadline next week.

“Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte had needed to get the Green Party, or GroenLinks, on board in order to hold a two-seat majority in the 150-seat lower house, after winning the backing of two other opposition parties …

“The EU Commission is expecting the Dutch to present a proposal by the end of this month on how the country will achieve a deficit of 3% of gross domestic product by 2013.

“Emerging from closed-door negotiations, Green Party Leader Jolande Sap told reporters her members had given the deal their ‘full support,’ while acknowledging that ‘painful rounds of cuts lie ahead…’

See EUAustralia Online, “Wilders, horse-trading; rocky times getting the numbers at The Hague …”, 5.9.12.

Reference

The Irish Times, Dublin, “Possible kingmaker Le Pen mocks Sarkozy effort to embrace far right”, 27.4.12. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0427/1224315234902.html, (27.4.12).

Fred Pals, “Dutch Budget Cuts Get Go-Ahead as Government Strikes Deal”, Bloomberg, NY, 27.4.12. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-26/dutch-budget-cuts-get-go-ahead-as-government-strikes-deal.html, (27.4.12).

Robin Van Daalen and Vanessa Mock, “Dutch government secures majority for budget deal”, WSJ, NY, 26.4.12. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304723304577367262629545598.html?mod=googlenews_wsj, (27.4.12).

Sylvia Zappi, “J’ai voté FN pour la première fois” (I voted FN for the first time), Le Monde, Paris, 26.04.12. www.lemonde.fr, (27.4.12).

Pictures

Top, left to right, Hollande, Le Pen, Sarkozy

Leave a Reply