Le Front national et le jeu parlementaire
This is a study of the parliamentary activity of the Front national (FN) in the Assemblee nationale from 1986 to 1988. The research is based on a comprehensive analysis of all parliamentary proceedings involving FN deputes during this period, using as primary sources the publications of the Assemblee nationale, including daily reports of the Journal Officiel, together with major daily and weekly newspapers and magazines from 1984 to 1993, and a cross-section of the publications of the FN at national and local levels. Part I examines the apparent contradiction between the anti-parliamentary reputation of this extreme-right party and its decision to join the French Parliament. The study traces the FN's patient quest for political legitimacy, its grudging acceptance by the established political parties and its strategy of recruiting personalities of the moderate right within its Rassemblement national. While the respectability derived from this helped the FN to enter Parliament, it also sowed disunity within the party's ranks. This is the context within which the parliamentary experience must be understood. Part 2 examines the effectiveness of the FN deputes in their parliamentary activities: drafting and tabling of bills, reports and amendments, interventions in parliamentary sessions, questions to the Government, voting patterns. The two main issues on which the FN deputes concentrated were immigration and law and order, but they also addressed many other questions and attempted to present themselves a force of economic liberalism without which the socialist experiment could not be ended since the traditional moderate right was too weak to defeat it. Part 3 pursues the analysis of the FN's continuing parliamentary activity in its second year in Parliament. It also traces the party's growing awareness of the limitations of parliamentary power as well as its own limitations as a parliamentary group, and its decisions to use parliamentary experience to broaden its political dimension. The conclusion weighs the impact of this parliamentary experience on the party and its local and national implantation, as well as on the recomposition of the French political scene.