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Unknown party beat everybody in one French commune

The Animalist Party enjoyed unexpected success in the European elections, picking up 450,000 votes nationally

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%).

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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