While European election attention has, understandably, on the top end of the results in France, a surprise is to be found down near the foot of the polling lists with unexpected success for The Animalist Party.
The almost unheard-of party, which campaigned on an animal rights ticket, has picked up about 2.4% of the vote in France - around 450,000 votes - shy of the 5% needed to pick up one of the country's MEP seats that were up for grabs, but not far below more well-known candidates, including former Parti Socialiste presidential candidate Benoît Hamon (3.2%).
Le Parti animaliste prend du poil de la bête !— Parti animaliste (@PartiAnimaliste) May 26, 2019
Un résultat d'autant plus remarquable compte tenu des très faibles moyens financiers. Cette campagne confirme que la question animale est une question politique !
Merci d'avoir donné votre voix aux animaux ! pic.twitter.com/okiEcAzjCu
It even won the popular vote in one commune in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where it claimed 23.08% of the vote, courtesy of a total of three members of the electorate in the 26-resident village of Rottier - more than the candidates for the Parti socialiste, La République en Marche, Les Républicains, Debout la France, Lutte ouvrière and the Union des démocrates et indépendants - who all polled one vote each.
In the 2017 Presidential election, the villagers of Rottier voted in favour of Emmanuel Macron in both rounds, with 33.33% in the first round - ahead of François Fillon (23.81%), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (19.05%) and Marine Le Pen (14.29%) - and 60% in the second.
The Animalist Party launched on November 14, 2016, as a "political party that recognises the centrality of the animal issue". Despite being almost unknown, it does have some big-name supporters, including Brigitte Bardot - who made a short film in support of the organisation - and Sylvie Rocard.
Its manifesto pledges to create full European legal status for terrestrial and aquatic animals,
Urge the UN to adopt a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights, end bullfighting and the production of foie gras, and encourage the creation of large-scale nature reserves in developing countries.
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