One of the most recent terrorist outrages took place recently along the Champs Elysees when an ISIS gunman opened up on a police car parked along the Avenue, killing one officer and wounded two. The terrorist was killed trying to escape, and the investigation is ongoing. The Washington Post suggests that the attack is likely to benefit French presidential candidate #Marine Le Pen, whose #National Front Party is running on an anti-immigrant, anti-terrorism platform. The first stage of the election is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 23. The top two voter winners of that round will face one another in the second round of voting two weeks later on May 7.
The National Front leader is virtually assured of advancing to the second round.
She is already attempting to take advantage of the shooting by demanding that France reinstitute border controls and to expel immigrants who come under the scrutiny of law enforcement for extremist views and terrorist associations. The gunman is said to have reached the attention of French Intelligence and had been briefly detained in February for threatening police officers, but had been released due to lack of evidence.
The National Front had been considered a fringe party when it had been first formed by Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. But ever since she took the party over, the younger Le Pen has sought to soften the National Front’s fascist tendencies and reach out to France’s Jewish and gay communities, both of whom feel particularly threatened by radical Muslim immigrants.
The National Front leader is running against an eclectic number of other candidates, including the mainstream conservative Francois Fillon, independent Emmanuel Macron, and far left Jean-Luc Melenchon, Le Pen and Macron are favored to win the first round according to current polls, but a great many undecided French voters exist..
Political analysts believe that the latest terrorist attack will benefit the National Front, especially when it is considered that it is the latest in a wave of outrages, including one bloodbath that took the lives of 130 people. Fear by French people of terrorism is playing into Le Pen’s hands.
In previous elections, the National Front has shown strength, only to fade at the last minute as the other French parties closed ranks against her. However, the National Front leader is riding a wave of nationalist fever that is taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, resulting in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the passage of the Brexit proposal that took Great Britain out of the European Union. The upshot is that Marine Le Pen may well get her chance to make France great again.