French far right rooting for hard-left Syriza in Greek poll

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party Matthieu Alexandre, AFP

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Tuesday that her National Front party would rejoice if the hard-left Syriza coalition wins upcoming elections in Greece.


Le Pen, who led the National Front (FN) to unprecedented ballot victories in France last year, told French media that a win for Syriza in Greece would help strengthen euro-sceptics across the continent.

“There is a revolt within Europe that is being led by people who are retaking control of power from the totalitarianism of the European Union and its allies,” Le Pen told the leading French daily Le Monde on Tuesday.

“This does not make me a far-left activist,” Le Pen added in relation to her support for Syriza. “We do not agree with their entire programme, specifically their immigration policies. But we would welcome their victory.”

France’s leading anti-immigration party, the FN is also virulently anti-Euro, calling for France to drop the single currency and erect border controls with its European neighbours.

Surfing on a wave of distrust toward European institutions, Le Pen’s party won the most votes in EU parliamentary elections in May, sending an unprecedented 24 members, including Le Pen, to Strasbourg.

Syriza, which opinion polls say is the frontrunner in the January 25 poll, wishes to cancel EU-imposed austerity measures and renegotiate Greece's debt obligations.

However, the group says it would like to see Greece remain in the eurozone.

Jumping on the bandwagon

Le Pen is only the latest member of France’s political opposition to rally behind Syriza, who opinion polls show is on pace to win 33 percent of votes in the snap poll.

A pro-Syriza meeting on Monday in Paris brought together hard left-leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Green party darling Cécile Duflot.

Duflot, a former minister in President François Hollande's cabinet, left her post last year with three of the more leftwing members of  the Socialist-led government.

Both Mélenchon and Duflot's names have been floated as potential candidates in France’s 2017 presidential race.

Le Monde reported that voicing support for Syriza also allowed Le Pen to separate her party from Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, whose members have been accused of violent attacks against immigrants and who have also enjoyed growing support among voters.

Le Pen, who has worked hard to soften her party's image in recent years, told Le Monde that in countries like Spain and Greece, where “there is no equivalent of the National Front, it is the far-left that gets our support”.

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