Sacre Merde!

The French Presidential elections have produced a surprise upset, as far-right
candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen
upset Socialist PM Lionel Jospin
. This is the first time in decades that a
Socialist candidate hasn’t been in the run-off election. Le Pen will now face current
President Jacques Chirac in the next round of voting.

This victory is an intreguing one, as it seems to be a reaction to the crises in
immigration and Socialism is Europe. Victories like this recent one in France, or
Pim Fortuyn’s recent victories in the Netherlands are part of a rising movement that
is tired of the same Socialist policies that have left Europe economically and
socially frozen. Adding to the problem is a constant stream of immigrants, few
of whom ever assimilate into European society. The results of these policies are
stagnant economies, crime, and racial tension.

It remains to be seen if these victories from the right will lead to
significant change. Le Pen and Fortuyn’s policies are viewed as extreme by many,
and some of them are. However, if Europe is to survive as a world power, they
must work to assimilate immigrant populations better, resist the creeping
bureaucracy of the EU, and dismantle their welfare states. Even if Europe moves
towards the right, those tasks will be exceptionally difficult, and many of the
new leaders exhibit a protectionist xenophobia that will only make the problems
Europe faces worse.