The far right vote in France: from consolidation to collapse?

James G. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presidential and legislative elections of 2007 are widely seen to have marked the end of the far right as a major political force in France. How could this occur only five years after Le Pen’s qualification for the presidential run-off, and with his party seemingly in the ascendant? This article discusses recent fluctuations in far-right electoral performance in France. It focuses largely on the presidential elections of 2002 and 2007, re-examining the (supposed) upswell of far-right support in 2002 and its (supposed) subsidence in 2007. Both elections require nuanced interpretation. Both confounded poll predictions, which in 2007 failed to measure the effect of Sarkozy’s hard-right campaign and, crucially, the extent to which the border between “mainstream right” and “far right” had shifted since 2002. This allowed Sarkozy to drain part of Le Pen’s electorate, and raises questions over the longer-term impact of Le Pen and the FN on the political agenda in France.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-45
Number of pages21
JournalFrench Politics, Culture and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • France
  • far right
  • Front National
  • Le Pen
  • Sarkozy


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