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French suburbs show tilt to the far-right ahead of April 10 vote

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

In France, polls show that highly-immigrant suburbs have joined in the nationwide turn to the right. Working-class areas in general now appear ready to join with rural voters in a rejection of the city-dominated mainstream parties.

The suburbs around cities in the country are known for being poor, immigrant, often Muslim, and for voting for the left, but a new poll shows the far right has surged in popularity.

At 42% of voter intentions, the far-right has become as popular as the three centrist parties combined. It’s now only the poorest areas of the suburbs where the stereotype of the so-called “red suburb” still holds.

Overall, 60% of the suburbs are planning to vote for the two political extremes, in a major rejection of the two mainstream parties and President Emmanuel Macron’s new party.

In 2017 the National Front’s Marine Le Pen lost in a 66 to 34% landslide. However, the latest polls show a 53 to 47% race which is now within the margin for error.

Many Muslims say they are ready to do what was once unthinkable, vote for the far-right. Analysts say that suburbs are now voting similar to rural areas, and for similar reasons.

The national turn to the right is based on pocketbook issues, but people may also have been persuaded by what’s been on the nightly news all year long.

France seems to have embraced four essentially far-right politicians among their five leading presidential candidates, and the previous months have been dominated by open xenophobia and contempt for aiding the lower classes.

In many ways, the Muslim vote may decide the election: if they join in the expected record abstention that will ruin the surging chances of the left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon, and ensure that a very right-wing president is elected on April 24.

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