The leader of France’s Front National (FN) has said that she would welcome an alliance with UKIP with “open arms”. Marine Le Pen said that UKIP leader Nigel Farage hold views that are “very similar” to her own party.
But the UK Independence Party said in a statement that it was “not interested in any deal” with the FN because of its past reputation for “prejudice and anti-Semitism”.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Le Pen said that Farage was “undoubtedly a charismatic leader” and his message is one that “people really want to hear and which is based on a correct reading of the situation”.
“We do have our differences – for example, on the economy – there’s no doubt about that. But I do think there is something he’s missing, and that’s the seriousness of the situation our continent finds itself in.
“If he understood how serious the EU’s situation is, he would support the collaboration of all patriotic movements, and he wouldn’t resort to tactics and strategy.”
Earlier this week, Le Pen said that she hopes to form an alliance with the party of Dutch politician Geert Wilders after the forthcoming European Elections. The grouping, which would also include MEPs from the Austrian Freedom Party, the Belgian Vlaams Belang, Italian Lega Nord, and the Sweden Democrats, could number up to 38 MEPs. All parties are regarded as being on the “far right” of European politics.
Although Nigel Farage has expressed admiration for Marine Le Pen, saying she “has some good qualities” and “is achieving remarkable things”, he has ruled out any formal alliance with the FN, and earlier this week embraced the much smaller French party Debout la Republique (DLR).
DLR are a group of dissident Gaullists who broke away from France’s main opposition UMP party, feeling that it has sold out to Brussels. They have some way to go before the catch up with the popularity of the Front National, however. In the last presidential election, leader Nicolas Dupont Aignan received less than two percent of the vote.
Le Pen expressed bewilderment at Farage’s decision to embrace the tiny party: “Nigel Farage appears to have chosen to campaign along with a candidate who reaches scores of one percent in France.”
“I am still wondering why he made that choice, as Nicolas Dupont Aignan’s political choices are very close to ours.”