French far-right party polls activists
NANTERRE, France: Who are you and what do you want? Seeking to rebrand itself and bounce back from electoral defeat, France’s far-right National Front Tuesday sent a questionnaire to party members asking them whether it should change its name and policies.
Six months after party leader Marine Le Pen suffered a crushing defeat against centrist Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election run-off, the poll is part of the 45year-old National Front’s efforts to relaunch itself.
“We need to ask ourselves why we didn’t win the presidential election and how we can improve our political offer,” FN lawmaker Sebastien Chenu, said. “We want to win elections, we owe it to our members.”
The FN’s 81,000 cardholders – which includes those up to a year late on party dues – are asked to say what type of job they have and where they get their news from.
More crucially, they are asked if they want to ditch the euro and hold a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union and if they think the party should focus less on immigration.
Opposition to the euro and immigration have long been at the heart of the party’s policies, but in the six months since her defeat, Le Pen has progressively watered down her anti-EU stance, which is unpopular and widely considered to be one of the reasons why the FN does not win major elections.
Party officials will use the results of the questionnaire to help prepare a party congress to be held in mid-March.
Members are also asked if they want to change the party’s name. While the FN is a well-known brand throughout France, it is largely associated with Le Pen’s father JeanMarie, the party founder, who was several times convicted for incitement to racial hatred.
Opinionpollsoverthepastmonths have shown Le Pen’s popularity has taken a hit even among party members and it is the far-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed), not the FN, that voters see as Macron’s strongest opponent. –