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The Hard Right Goes Soft

PARIS – The central paradox of French politics was confirmed once again on March 27. In a nationwide vote to select local authorities (the so called Conseiller Général), the far-right National Front gained 11% of the votes cast, but secured only 0.1% of the seats.

This discrepancy between the National Front’s popular strength and its actual representation has been a permanent feature of French politics since Jean-Marie Le Pen established the party 40 years ago. But Le Pen was replaced in January by his no less charismatic daughter, Marine. And, with that change, the fate of the Front may be changing, too.