NF set for fourth victory
Tuesday 04 February 1997
The first round result in Vitrolles, in the Bouches-du- Rhone, might be be written off as a local aberration. The Socialist mayor of the town is being investigated for fraud and the area has high unemployment and racial tensions. But confirmation of the National Front victory in the second round this Sunday will have powerful, national reverberations.
Vitrolles would be the fourth town, all in a small arc from the Rhone valley to the Mediterranean coast, to fall to the National Front. More important are the personalities involved. The nominal victor on Sunday, with 47 per cent of the vote, was Catherine Megret, an electoral novice. The real victor was her husband, Bruno Megret, 47, second-in-command of the National Front, plausible rising star of the French extreme right, and possible successor to the NF founder and leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Mr Megret is banned from running because he exceeded the legal limit on election expenses when he lost the mayoral election in Vitrolles in June 1995. The entire election was so riddled with "irregularities" - on all sides - that it was declared void by the Council of State.
A proxy victory for Mr Megret in the re-run would confirm him - a product of the meritocratic French establishment and former member of President Jacques Chirac's RPR party - as the attractive but sinister face of the second generation of NF extremism.
Unlike Mr Le Pen, a former paratrooper with one eye and a bombastic manner, both Mr Megret and his wife have the comfortable middle-class looks and credentials to extend the reach of the NF further into the ranks of the "respectable" right.
The Prime Minister, Alain Juppe, and other national and regional centre- right leaders, yesterday called on their own candidate to withdraw from the second round, to give the Socialist incumbent mayor a better chance of defeating the NF. But the Foreign Minister, Herve de Charette, insisted that the candidate of the respectable right should run again - making an NF victory virtually certain.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Isis video purports to show beheadings and execution at gunpoint of 30 Ethiopian Christians and destruction of churches in Libya
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...