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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

France's far-right National Front fail to take a single region after storming first round of voting

The National Front party received its biggest ever share of the vote but was beaten out by traditional parties.

Far right National Front regional leader Marion Marechal-Le Pen
Far right National Front regional leader Marion Marechal-Le Pen

FRANCE’S FAR-RIGHT National Front (FN) failed to win a single region in elections yesterday despite record results, as voters flocked to traditional parties to keep them out of power.

With presidential elections due in 2017, the anti-immigration FN had hoped the regional polls would act as a springboard for leader Marine Le Pen.

But despite a best-ever national vote tally for the FN, she was trounced by the right-wing opposition in the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region after the ruling Socialists pulled out of the race before the second round.

Her 26-year-old niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen was also clearly defeated by the right-wing grouping in the southern region that includes the glitzy resorts of the Cote d’Azur, despite dominating the first round last week.

The party had topped the vote in six of 13 regions on 6 December, with a 28% national share, propelled by anger over the struggling economy and fears created by last month’s jihadist attacks in Paris that left 130 dead.

But exactly a month on from those attacks, voters turned out in force – some 58% took part, up from 50% in the first round – and once again trounced the FN when it came down to the wire.

The ruling Socialists of President Francois Hollande won in five regions, while the centre-right alliance of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy took seven. Nationalists won in Corsica.

One of the biggest upsets yesterday came in the Paris region, which shifted from left to right for the first time in 17 years.

Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that despite the result “the danger of the far-right has not been removed, far from it”.

Sarkozy, leader of the Republicans party, praised the voters who turned out yesterday but said “the warnings” of the first round must not be forgotten.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: The deadliest storms to ever hit Europe

Also: The rise of France’s far-right has their opponents so worried they’re teaming up

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