Nearly nine in 10 French citizens say that both security and terrorism are key issues that will determine which candidate they vote for in next year’s presidential elections, a new opinion poll has revealed.
The poll, released by the international polling and market research firm Institut français d’opinion public (Ifop), showed that 86 percent of the French population considers “security and the fight against terrorism as well as the fight against [crime]” as crucial issues for the 2022 elections, Le Journal du Dimanche reports.
Of those 86 percent, close to half (44 percent) reported that “the fight against insecurity” would be “completely important” to how they cast their ballots.
Among those surveyed, supporters of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally most frequently cited security as their most important voting issue, at 99 percent, follow by the center-right Republicans, at 98 percent.
It’s not only the parties on the right which find security to be a major issue in the upcoming election, however. The poll revealed that 86 percent of supporters of Emmanuel Macron’s centrist-establishment party La République en Marche! said security was a major issue, and 80 percent of Socialist Party voters reported feeling the same way, followed by 70 percent of the far-left La France Insoumise party.
Responding to the survey’s figures, Fréderic Dabi, the director-general of Ifop, noted that “security is shaping up to be a major issue in the next presidential election”.
According to the newspaper, security concerns among the French population have increased by 26 percent since the spring of 2020.
France saw a myriad of terrorist attacks between May 2020 and April 2021. In the months of September and October, alone, four people were wounded (two seriously) after a radical Islamic terrorist from Pakistan attacked them with a butcher knife outside of the old Charlie Hebdo headquarters; the history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a Chechen Islamist migrant after showing caricatures of the Muslim prophet as a part a class on freedom of speech; three Christians were murdered in the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice by a Tunisian boat migrant; and a Greek orthodox priest was wounded seriously after being shot by an assailant.
Last week, a female police officer in Rambouillet — a French commune of just 25,000 people — was stabbed to death by a Tunisian migrant in front of her own police station.
The populist leader Marine Le Pen — who enjoys widespread support among police officers and the military for her hardline positions on crime and migration — undoubtedly see opportunity in the poll numbers. A survey published last month by the French cable channel BMFTV showed that 48 percent of those questioned about France’s 2022 presidential election said that Marine Le Pen’s victory was “probable”.
President Emmanuel Macron’s continued failure to secure the safety of French citizens was underscored in an open letter signed by over 7,600 retired military personnel, including 26 generals, which warns the French political class that the country risks falling into a civil war due to religious extremism and cultural disintegration, Remix News reported.
“Today, some talk about racialism, indigenism, and decolonial theories. But through these terms, it is a race war that these hateful and fanatical partisans want. They despise our country, its traditions, its culture, and want to see it dissolve by ripping off its past and history… As we can see, it is no longer time to procrastinate. Otherwise, tomorrow, the civil war will put an end to this growing chaos, and the dead, for whom you will bear responsibility, will count in the thousands,” the letter states.
In response to the letter, Marine Le Pen urged the military officials to join her movement, saying: “Invite you to join our action to take part in the battle that is opening up… As a citizen and politician, I agree with your analysis and share your affliction.”