Assas turns its back on right

March 14, 1997

Right-wing unions have taken a beating in elections at the Paris bastion of far-right student politics, the Assas Paris II University.

The extreme right-wing student list, Union-Droit, which campaigned with a black rat emblem, lost little ground, but the mainstream right-wing union UNI saw its support plummet.

The setback confirms the far right's receding influence since a university clampdown in 1995, when ringleaders were jailed for several weeks and the group lost its university premises after a series of assaults on left-wing students.

The Union-Droit list, backed by the National Front's student movement, remained virtually stable, its 6.87 per cent of the ballot down 0.2 per cent on the previous poll. But UNI lost a third of its support, falling back from nearly 21 per cent to just under 14 per cent of votes cast in elections for student seats on university councils.

In one ugly incident during the election campaign, a group of far-right students including a Union-Droit candidate attacked two students in the Assas main hall. One filed a complaint with the police after being hit and burnt with cigarettes in the face.

Although the main left-wing student union UNEF-ID lost votes, slipping from 26 per cent to 23 per cent, an anti-racist list, Asterix, saw its support rise by over 4 per cent to nearly 11 per cent.

The national evaluation council recently noted that Assas has suffered because of violent extremist students for over 20 years.

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