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European Elections 2014: National Front tops vote

Ben McPartland · 25 May 2014, 19:44

Published: 25 May 2014 19:44 GMT+02:00

  • Marine Le Pen's National Front Party set to top the vote and pick up around 25 seats in the European Parliament.
  • French PM calls the result "a shock, an earthquake"
  • Le Pen calls for president to dissolve parliament or "stop giving lessons in democracy"
  • President François Hollande calls for an emergency meeting on Monday morning and says "lessons must be learnt"

23:40: Well that's it from us folks for the night. If you are just tuning in, then scroll back through to see what happened on yet another eventful night in French and European elections. France just doesn't do boring elections. Thanks for following us. Come back in the morning when we'll have more reaction to the National Front historic result.

You can follow more live reaction on Twitter by clicking HERE.

23:37: Apparently the man tipped to be next president of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker will give his first press conference as president in French, to assert its role as lingua franca.

23:29: Lots of talk about tonight's results opening up the scars from 2002 for the Socialists, when their candidate Lionel Jospin was beaten to the presidential run-off vote by Jean-Marie Le Pen. That was considered the darkest moment for the left in France and was followed by street protests and plenty of soul-searching. How will France react now, to the National Front topping a nationwide poll for the first time? 

23:19: Here's some reaction from our Facebook page on the National Front's historic victory in the European Elections.

23:14: Wondering what Le Pen plans to do now? Then you might want to read this:

Le Pen's plan to bring Europe down from within

23:12: Newly elected MEP from France’s Greens group Pascal Durand regrets “the bad image” sent across Europe by France due to the National Front topping the vote.  Durand blames it on a lack of education about the EU. 

23:05: Some people are looking on the positive side tonight.

23:02: It's worth remembering that in 2009, the last European elections the National Front scored 6.34 percent ofthe vote and picked up three seats in the European parliament. In 2014, just five years later, that score has jumped to around 25 percent of the vote, which will translate into around  25 seats in Strasbourg.

23:01: Here's map of how the far-right performed across Europe.

22:51: Here's an interesting stat from Européennes2014 which shws the scores of the far-right parties across Europe. France is at the top of the table with 25 percent of the vote for the National Front, then comes Denmark where the Danish People's Party picked up 23 percent and in third was the UK, with the far-right picked up 22 percent of the vote.

22:47: So centre right parties set to win the most seats in European Parliament - around 211 out of 751 - followed by the Socialists who are expected to pick up 193 seats, with the liberals third with around 74 seats, greens, 58 and the far left, 47.

22:43: According to initial results for the whole of Europe, eurosceptic parties are set to win around 129 seats out of 751 in the European Parliament, with centre-right parties winning the most seats. Here's a breakdown: 

22:41: Marine Le Pen's face will be on front pages across Europe on Monday.

22:25: As Slate.fr points out, news of the National Front's election success makes front page news around Europe.

22:31: The question now is can Le Pen find enough allies to form a voting bloc in the European Parliament, which will help her in her plan to "explode" the EU from within. Those parties from across Europe contain Nazi sympathizers and openly anti-Muslim leaders. Read this article for more info: Le Pen's unholy alliance hoping to destroy the EU

22:28: Here's what turn-out was like across Europe.

22:24: It's not just in France that a far-right, anti-immigration party has topped the vote. In Denmark the Danish People's Party  has also come out on top according to exit polls. They will be an ally for Le Pen in the European Parliament. 

22:12: The big question after the National Front do well in any election, tends to be who in France votes for Marine Le Pen and co?

Well according to a poll quoted in Le Monde, as many as 30 percent of under 35-year-olds voted forthe NF on Sunday. The vote for the FN was also high among blue-collar workers in France with 48 percent of them giving Marine Le Pen their vote. In contrast only 8 percent of blue-collar workers voted for the Socialist Party. 

22:09: Here's a breakdown of what the results mean in terms of seats in the parliament in Strasbourg, from France 24.

22:05: French president François Holande says "lessons must be learnt" from this "major event".

22:00: Another emergency meeting for the president François Hollande, it seems. According to Le Figaro's sources, François Hollande summoned several government ministers from 8:30am on Monday to talk about the European election results. PM Manuel Valls, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Finance Minister Michel Sapin, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll will all be there.

21:53: It's not just seats in the European Parliament in Strasbourg that are up for grabs tonight. There is also the question of who will be the next President of the European Commission. It's a complicated process but the European Parliament has decided it should be the leader of the biggest group in the parliament.

However that decision will still have to be sanctioned by individual governments. The European People's Party is claiming victory for their man Jean-Claude Juncker, former Luxembourg Prime Minister.

21:49: Remember Jean-Marc Ayrault? The former Prime Minister who was dumped after the local elections said it's time for a "change in Europe". That's the "absolute priority".

21:47: More reaction from French voters on Twitter. Is there any need to translate this?

21:43: The European People's Party candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker was positive about the turn-out.

21:40: More from Marine Le Pen: “The sovereign people have spoken loud and clear and want to regain control over the reins of their destiny.

“It is a tremendous honour, we will prove ourselves worthy, “promised Le Pen. Voters want “French policies, for the French people.”

“This is a first step in a long and necessary step towards freedom,” she says. “The president of the Republic must take the necessary steps so that the National Assembly represents the people. If it doesn’t then France must stop giving lessons in democracy to the whole world.”

21:34: One place where the National Front won't be topping the vote is Paris, where the latest projections puts the centre-right UMP party in the lead.

21:30 Here's a breakdown of the results from Le Parisien, with the big dark blue wedge, the National Front.

21:20: It feels a little like 2002 when the National Front's Jean-Marie Le Pen shocked France and the world, by making it  through to the second round of the presidential elections against Jacques Chirac. Back then, like today, a lot of blame was placed on those people who didn't vote. But back then, France had a second round of voting in which to react. These results today are conclusive.

21:13: Here's more from the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Quoted in Le Parisien, Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the situation as “very serious for France and Europe,” adding that he regretted the “mediocre score of the majority and the left” which “shows a profound scepticism”. Valls puts this down to a “crisis in confidence” and “anger” among voters. “Europe is judged to be too distant and too foreign to our concerns,” he said. “We need a stronger Europe, a more generous [Europe]. It’s an earthquake aimed at all political officials. None of us can shy away from it.”

21:11: Obviously topless sextremists Femen had to show up somewhere today. In the end it was the northern town of Henin-Beaumont, where they offered a "anti-fascist vaccination".

21:07: Reacting to the exit polls, François Bayrou, President of the centrist Democratic Movement (MoDem) described it as “a breakdown of French political life." "Everyone can see that the left is seriously failing" he said, adding that “there are stresses, tensions, difficulties and enormous problems for the UMP.”

21:00: So what do the results mean for France's place in Europe and in particular how the French feel towards Europe?

Florian Philippot, the vice-president ofthe National Front said: "This is a very clear signal. The French no longer want this Europe. They want an intelligent protectionism. The government and the UMP will have to hear this message!"

The government spokesman Stephane Le Foll, who is the minister of agriculture said: "This result is an alert, which will weaken the position of France in Europe."

20:56: There's a lot of reaction on Twitter towards those who didn't vote today. Although the turn-out was actually higher than expected it was still only around 42.5 percent. But with the National Front topping the vote, according to exit polls, the finger of blame is being pointed at those who did not vote today. "FN 25 percent. Congratulations to all those who didn't vote" tweeted one disgruntled French person.

20:51: Here's what Le Pen has told supporters at a rally, in which she called for the dissolution of parliament. "It's unnacceptable that the National Assembly should be so unrepresentative of  the French people. What else can the president do after such a rejection."

20:50: Marine Le Pen calls on President François Hollande to dissolve parliament and for the Prime Minister Manuel Valls to resign. (He's only just taken up his post)

20:45: And remember it's not just in France that the far-right is on the march:

20:44: If anyone was in doubt about what this result means in France then let's allow the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to sum it up: "It's a shock, an earthquake", he said. "The moment is serious, very serious".

Story continues below…

20:42: Here's a round-up in the latestt from AFP

"France suffered a political earthquake on Sunday as the far-right National Front topped the polls in European elections with an unprecedented haul of one in every four votes cast, exit polls indicated.

Average results from five polling institutes pointed to the anti-immigration, anti-EU party led by Marine Le Pen taking 24-25 percent of the popular vote and around a third, or 23-25, of France's 74 seats in the
European Parliament.

The mainstream right Union for a Popular Movement was beaten into second place with a projected 20-21 percent score and the ruling Socialist Party was left languishing in third place with just 14-15 percent.

The result is the highest score ever obtained in a nationwide election by the FN and follows breakthrough gains made by the once pariah party in municipal elections earlier in the year.

"It is a historic score. We are now the first party in France," FN vice-president Florian Philippot declared as the exit polls were published while senior Socialist minister Segolene Royal acknowledged that the far right's success represented "a shock on a global scale."

20:40 - And the far left's Jean-Luc Melanchon had this to say:

20:38 - Plenty of reaction coming in to the National Front's success. There's some strong words being uttered out there about France and Europe. The FN's vice-president Florian Philippot says: "the French people have said that this Europe is over".

20:25: Just to get the National Front's result in a bit more perspective - it's the highest score the party has ever achieved in a nationwide election. The Socialist Party minister Segolene Royal called it a "shock of global proportions".

20:20: Here's how France's 74 seats will be divided up, according to exit polls. As it shows the FN will get around 25, the UMP 19 and the socialists 13. It's another bad night for François Hollande.

20:18: We asked the question recently whether France was a nation of eurosceptics. Well it seems at least of those who voted today are, if the exit polls are correct.

20:15: So what does that mean in real terms? Well if those exit polls are confirmed later tonight when the official results are released then the National Front would gain 25 seats out of France's 74 in the European Parliament. That is a staggering result on any level. What does it say about France's relationship with the EU?

20:10: So according to exit polls one quarter of French voters backed Le Pen's National Front on Sunday. This comes just weeks after the National Front made historic gains in the local elections.

20:09: So the predicted results are as follows: National Front: 24.4%, the UMP 20,3%, and the Socialist Party on 14,2%.

20:07:  Marine Le Pen has reportedly told AFP that her party has clearly won the European Elections in France.

20:00: According to Ipsos poll, The National Front is leading the vote in France with 25 percent of the vote. That was predicted as well.

19:59 Plenty of interesting stories around Europe tonight. Not least Greece.

19:58: There were complaints from many parties in France today about problems at polling stations. Lack of voting papers seems to be the main gripe.

19:42: Initial predicted results, based on exit polls will be out in France at 8pm. We'll bring them to you as soon as they come through.

19:40: Voter turn out: This is was one of the big questions of the day. Would the turn out be even worse than five years ago? Well the answer appears to be no. According to the Ministry of the Interior turn-out is actually higher than in 2009 with around 42.5 percent, voting so far.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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