From Greece and France to Sweden and Denmark, Europe’s far-right parties have taken the spotlight in recent months. Trading on sometimes vitriolic anti-euro, anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as renewed security fears, parties of the far-right have taken the center stage in protests and elections.
These parties have not emerged overnight. In fact, many have lingered on the fringe of Europe’s political landscape for decades. The WorldPost presents a guide to some of the most prominent radical right parties active in Europe today.
Leader: Marine Le Pen
History: Founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen, the current leader’s father, the National Front has had a longstanding role representing the far-right of French politics. Since the mid-1980s, FN has received anywhere between 10 to 16 percent of the vote in French presidential elections, with a notable success in the 2002 election, in which the elder Le Pen forced a second-round runoff with incumbent Jacques Chirac. Le Pen was ultimately defeated by a 65-point margin.
The party and its founder have been involved in numerous scandals and have faced strong criticism. In 1998, Jean-Marie Le Pen was found guilty of assaulting a member of the Socialist Party and barred from office for two years. Accusations of anti-Semitism and racism have also plagued the party, with Le Pen convicted of inciting racial hatred against Muslims in 2005. These incidents garnered Le Pen the nickname ‘The Devil’ in the French press.
A marked shift occurred in 2011, when Marine Le Pen took over leadership. Ostensibly presenting a kinder face of the party, the younger Le Pen has attempted to rebrand the FN as populist conservatives. Under her leadership, the party has become ascendant in French politics, winning its first senate seats in September of last year.
Platform: The National Front holds a platform that is strongly anti-immigration and anti-European Union. Their manifesto calls for enhancing border security and a reducing of legal immigrants from 200,000 a year to just 10,000.
The FN also seeks to prioritize the rights of French citizens by implementing protectionist legislation that would make certain benefits, such as child support, exclusive to French families. The party has also resurrected the idea of the death penalty, and called for an increase in prison size.
Popularity: A January 2015 survey by polling firm BVA puts the National Front’s popularity at 28 percent, just two percentage points shy of President Francois…