Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s euroskeptic National Front and longtime critic of the Europe Union, was smiling even before the final results came in.
Hoisting French and British flags in one hand while sitting at a cafe table, she posed in photographs published by party vice president Florian Philippot on the night of the British referendum.
“Victory of liberty!” Le Pen hailed on Friday morning, when initial results indicated that the Leave votes would take it. “As I have called for for years, there should now be such a referendum in France and in the countries of the EU.”
Le Pen’s niece Marion, a 26-year-old member of parliament and granddaughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, claimed a victory.
“From Brexit to Frexit: It is now time to bring democracy to our country. The French should have the right to choose!” she wrote on Twitter.
France’s National Front, one of the most prominent euroskeptic parties in Europe, and expected to make it to the final round of next year’s presidential elections, has seen growing support for its platform.
They are not the only ones.
Across the bloc, leaders of parties with reservations about the union of Europe hailed Britain’s decision and called for their own polls — or for big changes.
“Britain points Europe the way to the future and to liberation. It is time for a new start, relying on our own strength and sovereignty. Also in the Netherlands,” Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), said in a statement.
According to recent polls, PVV is the strongest political force in the country.
“We want to be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy. If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide,” Wilders said.
Norbert Hofer, the former candidate of the euroskeptic Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), said on Twitter that, “we will know the full scope of this decision in the next days.”
Hofer lost a recent presidential election in Austria by a very narrow margin against Green rival Alexander Van der Bellen. During a meeting of right-wing populist parties last week in Vienna, leaders warned that a British Leave vote would likely lead to additional referenda.
Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, Marine Le Pen, along with representatives from Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD), Italy’s Lega Nord, the Dutch Vlaams Belang movement and the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy party said they wanted to build an alliance to change the EU from the inside.
“Congratulations to the Britons. They have made their choice,” said Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the euroskeptic Danish People’s Party, in a post on Facebook after the British vote.
“The result is clear: The EU has completely underestimated people’s skepticism. The EU has taken too much power from national states and is now paying the price,” Dahl said.
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