Reap what You Sow: UMP Faces The Consequences of Their Decisions as the FN Becomes Stronger

While waiting for the second round of the legislative elections, each party tries to find the best strategy to win as many seats as possible in order to achieve an absolute majority.  The Parti Socialist (PS) this year has been doing this quite well, but the same cannot be said for its main challenger, the Union pour un Movement Populaire  (UMP), which struggles to differentiate itself from the Front National (FN), the extreme right party. Meanwhile UMP party leadership also clearly does not want to form any alliances the Front de Gauche (FG), the far left party.

The UMP defends its principle platform points such as Europe, competitive advantage, and the reducing the deficit. On the contrary, the FN advocates for a strong sovereignty and authority of state and social justice defined by party’s supporters.

As Eric Zemmour said on a RTL programme on Wednesday, June 13th, the two parties’ platforms have never been so different, but their electorates have never been so close.

At least 70% of the UMP and FN voters want an alliance between the two parties. Maybe this is due to the increased emphasis on national security during Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, which made the dividing line between the UMP and the FN more vague.  Or perhaps this is due to the disappointment and disillusionment of some traditional UMP voters after the former President’s five years in office.

Despite the party’s actions and intentions, the mistakes previously made by the democratic right seem to have strengthened the FN instead of weakening it.

Last Sunday, UMP leader Jean-François Copé and former Prime Minister François Fillion promised that there would not be an alliance with the FG nor the FN. Most of the UMP candidates have respected this position, but some have ignored this guiding principle. Among them is the former Minister Nadine Morano who called for the FN electorate to vote for her during the second round of the legislative elections. Similarly, former deputy Brigitte Barèges, who after her shocking announcement in the National Assembly denouncing gay marriage, now claims that she would be ‘glad’ to see Marine Le Pen win the election rather than the FG. But the most striking example is probably the case of Rolland Chassain, who is withdrawing from the legislative election in the 16th constituency of Les Bouches du Rhône. This withdraw will probably ensure a victory for the FN candidate, Valérie Laupiès, and it is even more likely to lead to Rolland Chassain’s expulsion from UMP, as Jean François Coppé and François Fillion have warned.

The lack of trust many French feel toward the UMP as well as the internal dissentions and divisions within the party itself, put the democratic right in a delicate situation for this second round, and one that is not easy to resolve quickly. These weaknesses could lead to a National Assembly made up mainly of socialists, deputies from other left-wing parties and a stronger National Front presence than expected.

The UMP wants to remain faithful to their values, and to conserve their own identity by not making alliances with the FN. But after a series of controversial reforms and security measures, that seem to make the party closer to the FN in many ways, the party is reaping the fruit of decisions, and paying for the apparent discontent its supporters.

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