Can the French Far Right Rebrand?

After the first round of voting last Sunday, France appeared to face a transformed political landscape. The FN, led by Marine Le Pen, built on the startling advances it had made in last year’s municipal and European Parliament elections. Her party tallied more than 25 percent of the vote—double the percentage it won in the last local elections, in 2011, and nearly 5 percentage points ahead of French President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party, which was eliminated from the vast majority of contests taking place this coming Sunday in the second round of voting. While she could not claim, as she had hoped, that the FN was “le premier parti de France”—the polls had forecasted the party winning as high as 30 percent of the vote—Le Pen was no doubt sincere when she declared that she was “very, very happy” with the results.