• France's news in English

Fierce campaign to stop French far-right victory

AFP · 1 Dec 2015, 13:11

Published: 01 Dec 2015 13:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
As Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the party a "menace to the economy" and business leaders warned of the "ruin" it could cause, two main newspapers in the north launched an unprecedented campaign to stop its leader Marine Le Pen taking control of the region.
La Voix du Nord daily and its sister paper Nord Eclair ran a second day of attacks on Le Pen and the party Tuesday, questioning their competence to rule the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region.
Articles headlined "Marine Le Pen and the Front are not who they say they are" and "Who are the members of the National Front really?" cast doubt on the party's ability to govern the depressed region, once a Socialist stronghold.
Le Pen, who looks set to win the region -- France's second biggest -- in the two-round vote which ends on December 13, reacted with fury to the "scandalous" attacks.
She branded the four pages dedicated to the party she inherited from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, little more than "tracts" in support of the ruling Socialist party.
"We shouldn't be surprised," she shot back, "it's payback for the nine million euros ($9.5 million) of subsidies they (the newspapers) have got from the Socialists during their mandate."
French regional newspapers, which outsell their national counterparts, rarely take a strong editorial line in the run-up to elections.
But La Voix du Nord -- which refuted the claims that it was in the pay of the National Front's rivals as "counter to the truth and the facts" -- accused the Le Pen family of "nepotism" and running their party like a family business.
'Economic danger' 
With Marine Le Pen's 25-year-old niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen also ahead in the race for the vast southeastern region that includes the French Riviera, Premier Valls claimed the party could be "pushed back if everyone does their duty" and goes out to vote.
Latest polls also show the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant party, which has never before won a region, in a close battle for two others, Normandy in the northwest and Burgundy and Franche-Comte in the east.
Story continues below…
"I don't bow down before these polls, the best way to show the polls are wrong is to mobilise the electorate," he added.
Valls slammed the party, which wants to pull France out of the euro, as "an economic menace".
"The Front does not love France, and it is conning the French including on terrorism," he told Europe 1 radio, insisting that the party had voted against a recent law to strengthen the hand of the intelligence services.
The head of the Medef employers' group, Pierre Gattaz, also weighed in against the party, saying it was "an economic danger which could bring the country to its knees, ruining those the Front are appealing to -- pensioners, workers and young people who see their future stymied."
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available