Sunday

28th Aug 2016

Far-right gives Hollande a bloody nose in French voting

  • Le Pen's anti-immigrant party is set for gains in municipal elections in France (Photo: frontnational.com)

Initial results in French regional elections show the growing popularity of Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National party.

Exit polls indicate it got 7 percent of the vote nationwide, compared to 43 percent for President Francois Hollande’s Socialists and 48 percent for the centre-right UMP.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But the FN fielded just 596 candidates in the 36,000 French municipalities where votes took place

It beat the centrist parties in a dozen or so southern cities, including Beziers, Saint-Gilles, Frejus, and Perpignan.

It won in the former Socialist stronghold of Henin-Beaumont, near Lille, and came a close second in other traditionally Socialist constituencies, like Nimes, Cavaillon, Istres and Villeneuve-sur-Lot.

It also made in-roads in Marseille, and in cities further north like Metz, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Amiens, and Quimper. In Marseille, the far-right candidate pushed the Socialist contender into third place, with the centre-right incumbent out on top.

Around 61 percent of the electorate voted, a historic low in a municipal election, with a second round of voting set for next week.

Le Pen told TF1 television on Sunday: “The National Front has arrived as a major independent force - a political force both at the national and local level.”

But Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said more people need to turn out and vote in the second round to prevent the FN from sealing its victories. “Wherever the FN is in a position to win the second round, all who support democracy and the Republic have a duty to prevent them,” he noted.

Hollande’s popularity has nosedived in recent months, amid high unemployment, sluggish growth, and personal embarassments for the centre left leader.

His approval rating is just 23 percent, but was as low as 15 percent - the lowest such figure in French history.

At the same time, Le Pen is said to have made her party more palpable to the general public by including left-wing elements in its image.

An MEP since 2004, Le Pen is stanchly anti-EU, wants tighter border controls, and an exit from the euro.

Italy earthquake is test for Renzi

Italian prime minister is expected to present a quick reconstruction plan and request more budget flexibility from the EU after this week's tragic earthquake.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey