French PM warns country could 'face civil war' should Marine Le Pen's National Front triumph at the polls this weekend

The far-right political party has made dramatic gains in last weekend's first round of local elections

Rose Troup Buchanan
Friday 11 December 2015 17:02
Comments
Is Marine Le Pen's attempt to make the National Front a more mainstream party working?
Is Marine Le Pen's attempt to make the National Front a more mainstream party working?

The French Prime Minister has warned his country could face “civil war” should a far-right party triumph at the regional polls this weekend.

Socialist leader Manuel Valls, speaking on France Inter radio station, claimed a victory for the National Front (FN) – which has seen record gains in the first round of local voting – would only heighten divisions in a country still reeling from the Paris attacks in November.

"We have reached a historic moment where the bottom line for our country is a choice between two options," said Mr Valls.

"One is the extreme right, which basically stands for division, a division that can lead to civil war."

The FN, led by controversial figure Marine Le Pen, is in pole position to seize six districts with 28 per cent of the vote nationally. The unprecedented result has left the political establishment reeling.

“There is another vision, which is that of the Republic and its values,” Mr Valls continued, urging French citizens to vote for “unity”.

In a highly unusual move, the socialist party has urged its candidates in the north, east and south-east – where the FN received the largest share of the vote – to step aside and boost the chances of a centre-right victory, or indeed of any party but FN.

Ms Le Pen - who won more than 40 per cent of the vote in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie regional elections last weekend – hit back at Mr Valls assertion as a “delirious outburst”.

"Let me remind the prime minister that the war being waged against France today is being waged by Islamist fundamentalists bottle-fed by a laxist, sectarian Socialist Party," she said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in