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Front National has chance to take centre stage after Paris attacks

3533The terrorist attacks in Paris have come at a supremely sensitive time in French politics, just three weeks before regional elections in which the far right is tipped to make historic gains.

It may be “just a local vote”, political analyst Madani Cheurfa told the Observer, “but everything depends on how the Front National reacts and if Marine Le Penmanages to get the FN to speak with one voice.”

Will Le Pen, head of the FN, be forced to echo the rivals she detests to show a united front against terrorism, as she did after the Charlie Hebdo killings in January? Or will she play the race and religion card?

Political observers suggested the answer would come only after the country had grieved for and buried its dead, but added that Friday night’s events were likely to play into the hands of the far right.

“The difference between this and Charlie Hebdo is that then it was journalists and police, symbols and institutions of the republic. These latest attacks were against ordinary people, all and everyone, men, women, children,” said Cheurfa, an analyst with Science Po’s research thinktank Cevipov.

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