Terrorism fears feed the rise of France’s extreme right

“Marine Le Pen does not have to say anything,” said Alain Frachon, a former editor of the French daily Le Monde. “Each time France is hit by terrorism, the extreme right benefits.”

Mr. Frachon was reflecting on the fatal stabbing Friday of a police officer by a Tunisian immigrant who had been in France for a decade without legal status before securing authorization to stay in 2019 and a temporary residence permit last year.

In fact, Ms. Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally, did say something. She told the BFM-TV news network that France needs “to expel hundreds of thousands of illegals in France. We need to return to reason. Support our police, expel the illegals, eradicate Islamism.”

How, she asked, was it possible for “somebody who was illegally here for 10 years to have his situation regularized?”

In France, where tensions are simmering after a series of terrorist attacks, Ms. Le Pen’s rhetoric resonates. The left, which is in tatters, bereft of an effective leader or message, appears to have no answer for the moment.

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