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“For the first time,” the Front National (FN) has taken the lead in a survey of voting intentions in France, reports an Le Nouvel Observateur. According to a poll conducted for the weekly, the far right party led by Marine Le Pen is credited with 24 per cent of the vote, “two points ahead of the UMP [the opposition Union for a Popular Movement] five points above the PS [the ruling Socialist Party]”.

The result “describes a new reality in French political life [because] not only does it articulate an electoral potential. It also highlights a dynamic. [...] Over the last four months, the only party to make real progress (+3 points) is the FN,” remarks Le Nouvel Observateur, which points out that with proportional representation

… the FN’s new status is threatening to see the light of day, while the breakthrough will not be seen as a French exception, given the surge in support for nationalist, populist and xenophobic forces in all the European Union's countries.