French far-right fails to win any regions in upset for Le Pen
AFP photoMarine Le Pen’s far-right National Front (FN) did not win any region in the second round of the French elections on Dec. 13, while Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives and their allies won seven constituencies and the Socialists five.
The (FN)lost election run-offs in three key target regions despite topping last week’s first round, exit polls showed, making Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives and their allies the clear winner in all three, Reuters reported.
Boosted by fears about security and immigration after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris a month ago that killed 130 people, the FN had won more votes than any other party nationally in last week’s first round.
Although it won no region on Dec. 13 after President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party pulled out of its key target regions and urged their supporters to back the conservatives of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the FN still recorded its best showing in its history.
“Tonight, there is no place for relief or triumphalism,” Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. “The danger posed by the far right has not gone away; far from it.”
Sarkozy struck a similar theme, calling the strong FN showing a “warning sent to all politicians, ourselves included, in the first round.”
“We now have to take the time for in-depth debates about what worries the French, who expect strong and precise answers,” he said, citing Europe, unemployment, security and national identity issues.
Le Pen, who had hoped to use regional power as a springboard to boost her chances in 2017 presidential elections, lost by a huge margin in northern France on Dec. 13, where she led her party’s ticket, attracting 42.8 percent of the votes in the run-off vs 57.2 percent for the conservatives.
Le Pen, speaking to the press after the results of the election, was defiant despite her party failing to win a single region in elections.
“Nothing can stop us now,” she said. “By tripling our number of councilors, we will be the main opposition force in most of the regions of France.”