BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 22 April, 2002, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Le Pen vote shocks Europe
Man walks past defaced poster of Jean-Marie Le Pen
There has been condemnation across Europe
Senior European politicians have expressed alarm at Jean-Marie Le Pen's strong showing in the French presidential election while it was welcomed by fellow leaders of the far right.

Mr Le Pen won enough votes to take on Jacques Chirac in the run-off in two weeks' time.


[The result] throws a great dirty rock into the European political pool

Neil Kinnock
EU commissioner

"I hope that all democratic powers will unite against right-wing extremism and xenophobia," said Sweden's Social Democrat Prime Minister, Goran Persson.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said that the share of the vote obtained by France's far right was "alarming".

But he stressed that the run-off election on 5 May was the main issue.

Poland's Social Democrat Prime Minister, Leszek Miller, said that Mr Le Pen's success posed a threat to the European Union.

"The slogan of Le Pen's campaign was 'First France and the French'," he told Reuters.

"Le Pen did nothing to hide his scepticism towards an open Europe, a tolerant Europe, and in his rhetoric he constantly underlined his hatred of foreigners."

In Britain politicians united to express what European Commissioner Neil Kinnock called their "shock and horror" at the result.

Mr Kinnock said the level of support expressed for the extreme right-winger threw "a great dirty rock into the European political pool".

Rise of the right

Mr Le Pen's shock defeat of the Socialist candidate, Lionel Jospin, follows a series of far-right election successes beginning in Austria two years ago and continuing through Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.


It's not surprising that French voters are moving to a far-right party - they have the same problems of insecurity, of immigration and political corruption

Filip Dewinter
leader of Belgium's Vlaams Blok

There were expressions of support for Mr Le Pen among some of Europe's other far-right parties which have been on the rise.

"I'm very, very pleased that Le Pen scored such a large victory", said Filip Dewinter, leader of the Vlaams Blok in Belgium.

"It's not surprising that French voters are moving to a far-right party. They have the same problems of insecurity, of immigration and political corruption..."

In Austria, where sanctions were imposed in 2000 after Joerg Haider's Freedom Party entered a coalition government, a spokesman called the vote a "slap in the face for the inventors and initiators of the EU sanctions against the Austrian Government".

But in Italy the National Alliance, which is part of the government, played down Mr Le Pen's share of the vote.

"Le Pen collected protest votes but he is not an alternative," said Maurizio Gasparri, the communications minister and a member of the party which can trace its roots back to Mussolini's Fascist party.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jon Sopel
"A political tidal wave struck France"
The BBC's Paul Anderson
"A crushing blow for Mr Jospin's supporters"
The BBC's William Horsley
"A great deal of blame is being thrown against Jospin and his government"
The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"Le Pen is a political survivor"

Key stories

Analysis

Profiles

TALKING POINT

SPECIAL REPORT

FACTFILE
See also:

21 Apr 02 | Europe
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes