‘Love France or leave it’: the small-town voters driving support for Le Pen’s far right

The Seine-et-Marne area southeast of Paris has emerged as a bastion of support for the National Rally in a region that was previously hostile towards Marine Le Pen’s party. Fresh from its triumph in European elections, the far right is riding a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the French capital’s outlying suburbs as it aims for a historic win in upcoming legislative elections.

Nestled in a loop of the Seine some 80 kilometres upstream from Paris, the town of Champagne-sur-Seine is a prime target for Le Pen’s National Rally (RN).

Over the past decade, the far-right party has seen its share of the vote grow steadily in this town of 6,500 inhabitants, culminating in a crushing victory in European elections on June 9, when it took over 37 percent of the vote.

With the country heading back to polls in snap elections on June 30 and July 7, the RN is now hoping to snatch the local seat at the National Assembly, just two years after it narrowly missed out on a second-round runoff.

At the train station in Champagne-sur-Seine, commuters make no secret of their support for a party that has largely succeeded in “detoxifying” its brand – though many are still reluctant to give their name.

Like many of Le Pen’s voters, Laurent, 50, cites immigration as his primary concern.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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