French far-right politician and xenophobic Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen said earlier today that her party would rejoice if leftist main opposition SYRIZA wins the upcoming elections in Greece. As expected, the controversial statement caused numerous reactions in Greece, mostly from ruling New Democracy and its coalition government partner PASOK.
The daughter of longtime FN leader and founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who led her father’s party to an unpredicted success during the latest 2014 European elections, managing to elect 23 out of a total of 74 French MEPs, argued that a SYRIZA win in the upcoming January 5 Greek elections would strengthen eurosceptics across the continent. “There is a revolt within Europe, led by people who are retaking control of power from the totalitarianism of the European Union and its allies,” Le Pen told French newspaper Le Monde earlier today. “This does not make me a far-left activist,” she added in relation to her support for SYRIZA.
“We do not agree with their entire program, specifically their immigration policy. But we would welcome their victory,” she said on the matter. SYRIZA, which is currently leading the opinion polls, just 5 days ahead of the snap general elections, has proclaimed it intents to cancel anti-popular austerity measures and renegotiate Greece’s debt and program, although it has declared it is willing to remain within the Eurozone.
On its behalf, FN is a clear anti-Eurozone party, calling Paris to drop the single currency, return to the national franc and toughen the country’s border controls with its European neighbors. Profiting from a wide distrust toward European institutions, the anti-immigration party managed to win the last European elections with 24.86% against 20.8% of Nicolas Sarkozy‘s conservative Union for a Popular Movement.
New Democracy commented that SYRIZA leader “Alexis Tsipras found his sole European ally in the face of Mrs. Le Pen,” underlining that “Mr. Tsipras and his party’s extreme components will isolate Greece,” while repeating that he is an accident that is not going to happen to the country. Coalition government partner PASOK said that it hopes SYRIZA will renounce the support of an extreme-right party, avoiding its inclusion in the parties that threaten the European family and its citizens’ democratic rights.