A study of the election preferences of the French military and the gendarmes has revealed an increasing trend to support populist leader Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (National Rally/RN).
The Ifop study, conducted for the Jean Jaurès Foundation, looked at communes with a large number of soldiers compared to the average population and found some, such as Mailly-le-Camp, saw a 50.4 per cent vote for the populist party in the European elections this year, Le Figaro reports.
The commune of Suippes, home to the French 40th Artillery regiment, also has a much higher vote for the RN than the average for the rest of the department where it is located with 45.5 per cent support in the European election.
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The study also looked at locations with polling stations in urban areas in close proximity to gendarme barracks and again found higher percentages of votes for Marine Le Pen and the RN than other parts of the cities they were located in.
In Dijon and Toulouse the difference was 17.4 per cent, while in the southern town of Hyères, the difference between the gendarme vote for the RN and the city average was more than 20 per cent.
Support for Le Pen among the police has been strong for years, with an Ifop study released in 2017 before the first round of the presidential elections estimating that 51 per cent of gendarmes were likely to vote for Le Pen.
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While many of the average officers support Le Pen, the police union Alliance made it clear they did not back in May of 2017, urging officers not to vote for the populist candidate.
Despite the call, many officers said at the time they would ignore the union and vote Le Pen anyway. “If the policemen vote Le Pen it is mainly for the security policies. I vote FN by default because there are no candidates who match me,” one officer was reported to have said.