EU Elections - The Pro-Sovereignty Parties
This post is an adaptation of an article from Le Figaro dated May 21:
It's a tale of two rivals who know each other well and who have been observing each other for a long time. Which one - Jean-Marie Le Pen or Philippe de Villiers - will come out ahead in the June 7 European elections? The outcome will have an impact on the leadership to the right of Nicolas Sarkozy. And the analyses differ according to the pollsters.
For most pollsters, the Front National is still in the lead, but the gap is closing with the MPF (Movement for France) and the CPNT (Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Traditions), that are presenting joint ballots under the banner of Libertas, the party of Irishman Declan Ganley. The latest indicators from CSA, published on May 17, credit the FN and and the MPF-CPNT coalition with 6% and 5% of the vote. A poll from Ifop attributes 7.5% to Le Pen and 5% to the MPF. Out own opinion poll from May 20 is very similar, with the FN receiving 6% and the MPF 5.5%. A poll from Ipsos inverts the trend and attributes 6% to Villiers and 5% to Le Pen.
Philippe de Villiers, whose mood can change rapidly, is delighted. "For a week I have felt that things are moving. It's a feeling I know well, I've known it both in the good sense and the bad, in the course of my successive campaigns. The real campaign starts now and everything will play out during the last ten days. We are the only ones who dared to transgress and give a name to the solution to the current crisis: protectionism."
If anyone objects to Villiers on grounds that it is the same platform as the FN, he defends himself: "In the mind of the public, I am more legitimate than he is on the theme of protectionism, while he is better on the theme of immigration." The deputy from Vendée (Villiers) predicts he will beat the FN and achieve 7% - 9% of the votes.
Obviously Jean-Marie Le Pen and his lieutenants don't see it that way. The leader of the FN bears a grudge against Villiers for having attempted to take voters from him in the 2007 presidential. At the time Villiers had miscalculated Le Pen's ability to acquire eligibility to run for office, in view of his age and health (something the FN was very shadowy about).
Note: Eligibility depended on getting 500 signatures from elected officials, such as mayors and councillors.
The leader of the Front National gleefully attacks the deputy from Vendée: "With Villiers you'll be eating rabbit stew with Irish sauce: beware of indigestion!"
Bruno Gollnisch, vice-president of the FN, adds his voice and accuses Villiers of being the " an opponent in the service of the court", the "eternal procurer of votes for the UMP."
"I do not sense any dynamic in favor of Libertas," adds Marine Le Pen, vice-president of the FN. Philippe de Villiers' constituents are stunned that he is running under a foreign flag," she declares. In her view, "the Front National will come out ahead of the MPF-CPNT ballots that will have only one winner: Villiers." Marine Le Pen is hoping for a score of between 7% and 8%. To her, this seems "very honorable, since our party is convalescing."
At any rate, it is probable that on June 7, the eternal rivals, Philippe de Villiers and Jean-Marie Le Pen, both longtime deputies in the EU Parliament, will reenlist and continue to stare at each other in the amphitheater at Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg.