French elections: It is simplistic to blame racism -
There are two ways of looking at the results of the first round of the French presidential vote. On the surface, voters chose to engineer a classic left-right competition by sending the Socialist candidate François Hollande and the outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy into the second round, on May 6. But that's far from the whole story. The biggest upset did not come, as was expected, from Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the maverick leftwing Socialist dissident in coalition with the remains of the Communists — but from Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National. Le Pen was credited with 18% of the vote, higher than the 16.5% that got her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, to the second round in 2002. It was the highest score for a far-right candidate in a presidential election in France's fifth republic.