Several nationalist and anti-immigration parties have become the most popular in their countries, topping recent opinion polls in France, Austria and Finland.
France’s Front National, Austria’s Freedom Party and Finland’s True Finns have all headed voters’ surveys in recent weeks.
In March, Marine Le Pen’s party received 23 per cent in a poll of voting intentions for 2012’s presidential election. The survey, carried out by the Harris Institute and published in the newspaper Le Parisien, put Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP and the Socialist party at 21 per cent each.
The Front National received a 15.06 per cent vote share in the first round of France’s regional elections in March; however, that total would have been higher had the party contested more seats.
This week the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) also proved the most popular in its country.
The FPÖ would secure 29 per cent of the vote if there were a general election held today, according to a poll by the OGM institute on behalf of the Kurier newspaper. For the first time, the FPÖ overtook the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), who polled 28 per cent, and the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), who earned 23 per cent.
The FPÖ stands opposed to EU membership, Turkey’s joining the EU, the Islamificiation of Austria, and immigration.
Previous Austrian polls this year have shown support for the FPÖ at around 24–29 per cent, on par with the SPÖ and ÖVP. Among people under 30 years of age, the FPÖ has the support of 42 per cent.
The BZÖ, a breakaway party from the FPÖ that also advocates stronger immigration controls and opposes Turkish accession, scored highly too, at 13 per cent. The FPÖ already holds 38 seats in the Austrian national parliament, and the BZÖ holds 17.
Meanwhile, in Finland, the anti-immigration and anti-EU True Finns party also surged into the lead.
A poll commissioned by a group of regional newspapers found that 22.4 per cent of those questioned said they would vote for the True Finns, compared with 20.6 per cent for the centre-right National Coalition party and 19.1 per cent for the Social Democrats.
The result reflects another rise in support for the True Finns, whose opposition to EU bailouts and the erosion of Finnish culture saw them become the country’s third-largest party in last month’s national election. The party earned 19.1 per cent of the vote in April, just 1483 votes behind the Social Democrats, who also gained 19.1 per cent, and 1.3 per cent behind the winning National Coalition Party.
The rise of nationalist sentiment is also felt in the Netherlands, where support for Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) increased this week.
A Maurice de Hond poll gives Wilders’ PVV 26 seats if there were a general election tomorrow, three up on the previous poll. The ruling centre-right VVD fell by two seats to 32.