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The ‘territorialization’ of the Front National’s populist politics in France

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Comparative European Politics Aims and scope


Based on a case study of the French Front National (FN), this paper examines the territorialization of national-populist parties. We adopt a sub-national approach and ask to which extent the FN engages in different ideological and organizational strategies to take advantage of territorialized opportunities. We draw on a comparative qualitative analysis of two emblematic French regions with the highest electoral returns for the FN, namely Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Hauts-de-France. We find that the FN is adapting its supply of national-populism to different arenas and contexts where cultural and economic issues vary in salience and in the resonance they find in the political process. In doing so, the FN seems to be successfully meeting the needs and interests of the local constituencies that it targets. However, this may produce greater ideological and organizational heterogeneity, possibly hampering the party’s electoral prospects nationally.

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  1. The data were drawn from the online collaborative platform:






  7. In 2015, Maréchal-Le Pen was endorsed by Jean-Marie Le Pen after he had left the campaign over disagreement with his daughter.


  9. In the departmental elections of March 2015, the FN had already run four members of Nissa Rebela, the local branch of the Identitarian movement in Nice, including its secretary general Benoît Loeuillet.



  12. Regions are responsible for transport, schools, universities, research and vocational training, infrastructure and culture, including cultural heritage and monuments. The NOTRe decentralization Law of 2015 (Loi Nouvelle organisation territoriale de la République (NOTRe) has also given regions new albeit limited responsibilities in economic development.


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Correspondence to Gilles Ivaldi.

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Ivaldi, G., Dutozia, J. The ‘territorialization’ of the Front National’s populist politics in France. Comp Eur Polit 16, 1033–1050 (2018).

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