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Right-wing surge: Populists gain in Sweden and Czech Republic as Le Pen extends lead

RIGHT parties in Sweden and the Czech Republic experienced a poll bounce this week as French populist leader Marine Le Pen extended her lead ahead of the country’s presidential election.


Nationalist in the Czech Republic recorded a record level of popularity according to one survey, whilst eurosceptics in Italy continued to battle for top spot.
A slew of polls released this week provided little evidence that the populist revolution gripping Europe is losing momentum, with establishment parties like Angela Merkel’s CDU continuing to struggle.
They come as the European Parliament proposed diverting more funds from the EU budget towards “tackling populism”, saying the trend towards nationalism is threatening to rip the bloc apart.
In the Czech Republic, which is locked in a battle with Brussels over its migration quota policy, the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) scored a record high.
The party polled eight per cent in a survey released by Medea, making it the fourth largest in the country but still a long way behind the pro-Brussels ANO, which leads on 28 per cent.    
              The Five Star Movement continues to battle at the top of the polls in Italy   
Elsewhere, in Sweden the nationalist Swedish Democrats party showed some signs of recovery from a recent poll slump, climbing to 17 per cent support in a Sifo survey.The party is the third largest in the country, which will hold elections in 2018, although it is still polling well below its highest figure of 25 per cent in November last year.
In the same survey the Centre Party, a pro-refugee liberal movement, surged to 12 per cent despite the country’s issues with migration, representing its highest popularity share since 1982.The latest polls from Italy showed the eurosceptic Five Star Movement still tying neck-and-neck with the ruling socialists on 30 per cent each as the country gears up for the possibility of a snap election.And Marine Le Pen, the Front National leader, extended her lead as the country’s most popular single candidate to five points according to an Ifop survey released yesterday.   
                                The Swedish Democrats’ rating also recovered slightly
The populist leader, a shock candidate for the French presidency, recorded 26 per cent of support from voters compared to 21 per cent for centrist Emmanuel Macron and just 18 per cent for scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon.
Her campaign has gained momentum by appealing to the French public’s concerns about immigration and the perceived threat to French culture, loss of sovereignty to the EU and by linking unemployment to globalisation..However, polls have consistently shown that whilst Ms Le Pen is expected to win the first round of the French election she is likely to be comprehensively defeated in the final vote.


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