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The European Rescue of the Front National: From the Fringes Towards the Centre of National Politics Through EU Politicisation

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Tracing the Politicisation of the EU

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology ((PSEPS))

Abstract

The chapter argues that European Parliament (EP) elections are not second-order elections for political underdogs such as Front National (or UKIP). For them and similar non-cartel parties, the EP elections are first-order elections that have enabled political survival and provided a venue for growing influence in national politics. This chapter explores the politicising strategies and practices that have enabled the Front National to move from the margins to the centre of politics in the French political field through the use of European political and economic capital. The EP has provided the Front National with a life-saving power base that enabled accumulation of both political and economic capital and sustained presence in French national politics. Forty years after the first direct elections to the EP, the Front National is a key part of French political scene in its reformed form as Rassemblement National. To paraphrase Alan Milward, the success story of the Front National boils down to a European rescue of the French extreme right.

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the CES conference in Madrid in 2019 and at the DES-ECSA conference in Aarhus in 2019. Thank you to all the participants and the editors of this volume Taru Haapala and Alvaro Oleart for constructive comments.

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Correspondence to Niilo Kauppi .

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Kauppi, N. (2022). The European Rescue of the Front National: From the Fringes Towards the Centre of National Politics Through EU Politicisation. In: Haapala, T., Oleart, Á. (eds) Tracing the Politicisation of the EU. Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82700-7_5

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