Front National says Eurosceptics WILL have a voice in France after election results
Far-right mayor David Rachline said Marine Le Pen’s nationalist Front National (FN) party would have a “strong” voice in France’s National Assembly after winning eight out of the 577 seats up for grabs in Sunday’s final round of parliamentary elections.
The party defied widespread expectations that it would struggle to secure more than five.
Marine Le Pen won her first parliamentary seat after a number of failed attempts to get into the National Assembly.
The mayor said the party, which Mrs Le Pen pledged to “overhaul” following her crushing defeat to Emmanuel Macron in last month’s presidential election, would not “suddenly become” pro-Europe and pro-immigration.
Mr Rachline said: “We are prepared to make concessions to woo voters, but we will not suddenly become pro-Europe and welcome mass immigration.”
Mr Rachline, the mayor of the French Riviera town of Fréjus and a senior FN figure, told Europe 1 radio that his party had done “better than expected” in the second round of voting and would strive to be the main opposition force in parliament.
He said: “After the first round of voting we were told that we would win one – maybe two – seats in the lower house of parliament, and yet we won eight… We will have a greater presence in parliament than these past five years and this will enable us to provide a strong opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government.”
The party did not win the 15 seats needed to form a parliamentary group, meaning the Front National will have little speaking time in the chamber, no say over parliament’s agenda and its committees, and fewer financial resources than other parties.
But Mr Rachline said: “It is not because there will only be eight far-right MPs that we will not have a strong voice in the National Assembly.
“We want to appeal to a wider range of voters and be more efficient.”
He added Mrs Le Pen remained the undisputed leader of what the 29-year-old mayor referred to as the “main opposition party in France”.
Mrs Le Pen, 48, was elected in her northern fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont, a former mining town in the Calais region, with 58.6 per cent of the vote.
Her partner, Louis Aliot, the FN’s vice-president, won a seat in south-western France, while her right-hand man, Florian Philippot, failed to get elected in the district of Moselle, a former industrial area in eastern France.
Mr Macron’s La République en Marche (Republic on the Move) party won a decisive majority in parliament after securing 350 seats.