In France, voters defy leaders to back Le Pen’s party

No shortage of pictures like this, search “Islamisation France”

(Reuters) – A strong showing by Marine Le Pen’s National Front in a by-election run-off in eastern France is the latest sign of the rise of the anti-immigrant party, with voters ignoring calls by mainstream politicians to snub her candidate.

President Francois Hollande’s ruling Socialists clung on to Le Doubs parliamentary seat with 51.4 percent of the vote, barely 800 votes ahead of the National Front candidate. The main conservative contender was knocked out in the first round.

The far-right FN made unprecedented gains in municipal and European elections last year and surveys show Le Pen is a viable presidential challenger in 2017. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned her party stood “at the gates of power”.

The FN’s Le Doubs candidate Sophie Montel managed in the run-off to increase her first-round score by more than 6,000 votes despite appeals by the conservative UMP for supporters to abstain. The result underlined the FN’s potential to secure gains in county and regional elections in March and December.

“What’s clear is that the National Front is stealing lots of voters both from the UMP and the Socialists regardless of what party leaders tell them,” said Jerome Fourquet, analyst for pollster IFOP…

Those nasty voters: not doing as they’re told.