”For decades, politics and society in the Fifth Republic were characterised by a left-right opposition. The French workforce’s affinity with the left eroded as large regions underwent deindustrialisation. The natural inclination of both the bobos – the educated middle class – and of the immigrants to side with socialism plugged the gap for a while. Yet the Socialists have failed to put forward convincing policies, leading to the exodus of large sections of the electorate who see themselves as the losers of modernity. As a result, the share of the blue-collar vote for the right-wing populist Front National (FN) has risen from an already high 27 percent in 1995 to 44 percent today.”

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