French Millennials are rallying behind Marine Le Pen and France’s National Front.
While 2016 will likely be remembered as the year voters rejected the political establishment in the UK and in the United States, French millennials are looking to continue the momentum during their next national election in April 2017.
For a country whose current President is a socialist, French millennials have a lot at stake in this current election, and they aren’t going to be quiet about change.
According to recent polls, the National Front currently carries the support of approximately 1-in-5 French millennials aged 18-34 years, the highest level of support amongst all parties in the race.
France’s National Front Party is a moderately conservative party with populist tendencies. The party’s current leader and presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, has endorsed several policies on immigration and global trade that are similar to President-elect Donald Trump’s.
Le Pen’s platform includes removing France from membership in the European Union and use of the Euro, halting free movement at France’s borders, returning asylum seekers to their home countries, and passing taxes on international imports to protect French jobs.
For millennials in France, her policies on stopping Islamic terrorism, limiting immigration, addressing youth unemployment seem to be the most popular.
France has been rocked by a number of Islamic terrorist attacks in the last couple years, including a shooting at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 and an attack on a rock concert in Paris that killed 130 in November 2016. This past summer, ISIS claimed responsibility for a Bastille Day attack in which a Tunisian man drove a large truck into a crowd at a parade in Nice, France, killing over 80 people and injuring hundreds of others.
Youth unemployment is also an issue that resonates with French millennials, 24% of whom are currently unable to find a job. Many millennials feel they have been betrayed by 4 years of failed socialist policies from President Hollande, and that it’s time to for a different approach.
Unlike many politicians and political parties, France’s National Front has also devoted significant resources to electing millennials who share their views in local elections. According to the party, 20% of their local councilors are under the age of 34, giving French millennials a significant stake in the Party’s message.
While conservatives can disagree over certain proposals advocated by Le Pen and the National Front, her message of putting the French economy and French workers first over the interests of the European Union is certainly resonating with millennials.