National Front pulls in ‘record membership’

National Front pulls in 'record membership'
The National Front party has a total of 83,000 members – the highest number in the history of the party. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
After a year of unprecedented electoral success, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-EU National Front party is attracting more members than ever before in the 42-year-old party’s history, French media has reported.

The National Front party has a total of 83,000 members – the highest number in the history of the party, according to the Huffington Post, citing an “internal party source”. 

Since 2011 the party has seen a surge in support, with around 20,000 new members each year, a trend that coincides with Le Pen taking the reigns of the party and leading an effort to make it mainstream.

In contrast, the governing Socialist party, which counted 170,000 members in December 2013, has seen a decline in recent months.

The centre-right UMP party claims to have around 268,000 members, according to Metronews. And the centrist UDI claims to have around 29,000.

In September the National Front celebrated its third political triumph when it won two seats in the French Senate elections, a first for the far-right party.

In May during the European Parliament elections the National Front was the most popular party snagging 25 percent of the vote and capturing a third of France’s 74 seats in Strasbourg.

The National Front’s success in the local elections in March were also historic, seeing the party capture 11 mayorships and some 1,200 seats on town councils across the country.

SEE ALSO: Le Pen: France needs to take control of borders

The Socialist government, meanwhile, has suffered a series of setbacks in recent months, notably the political crisis provoked by Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg’s outspoken speech against the government’s economic policy.

Just nine days into the newly reshuffled cabinet and the government was rocked by the revelation that French trade Minister Thomas Thévenoud had failed to pay taxes.

Then there were the explosive revelations from Francois Hollande’s ex-partner Valérie Trierweiler’s book about her time as the unofficial first lady, the most damaging of which was that Hollande despised the poor, calling them the “toothless”. 

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