In local French elections over the weekend, Conservatives Hold Off National Front while PS, the party of president Francois Hollande finished a distant third.

France’s centre-right UMP party and its allies have taken first place in the first round of local elections, partial results show.

Projections suggest that the far-right National Front – despite strong gains – came second with about 25% of the vote, behind the conservatives on 30%.

President Francois Hollande’s governing Socialists came third with about 20%.

Voters are electing representatives in 101 departments, or counties, charged with issues like schools and welfare.

The results mean the second round on 29 March will see a run-off between the UMP and the FN in many constituencies.

Le Pen: “We Dislodged PS”

Following the election, a triumphant Marine Le Pen announced “We dislodged PS“.

Via translation from Le Monde:

In an exclusive interview with Le Monde, the president of the National Front believes that the score of his party in the first round of the departmental elections, Sunday, March 22, is a “feat”.

Le Pen: I have always said that beating the results of the European election [25%] would be a triumph. We beat that score score tonight.

Le Monde: You cannot dislodge the role of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Le Pen: The one that has been dislodged is the PS. It was dislodged in a thousand cantons!

Le Monde: You pay for your policy of isolation. The dynamic alliance between the UMP and the UDI allows to garner more votes.
Le Pen: We went from zero local presence to many second rounds. It’s spectacular! Our score reassures everyone, it shows that our standards have reached such a point that some blow when one makes 27%.

Le Monde: Your dynamic still seems halted.
Le Pen: Not at all! We scored better than in the European elections! The vast majority of our candidates are unknown. And we come to consolidate a national proportional vote. I have no reason to be disappointed tonight. None.

Le Monde: The results of the PS is a defeat for Manuel Valls?
Le Pen: The vote eliminated half of PS candidates in the first round! This is a personal defeat.

Le Monde: Today your main opponent is Manuel Valls and Nicolas Sarkozy?
Le Pen: My main opponent is a presidential candidate. It’s Hollande and Sarkozy.

Achievement of National Front

Also from Le Monde, please consider Local Elections 2015.

Marine Le Pen, made its best score ever in the local elections, with about 26% of the votes.

Marine Le Pen took the floor to celebrate the “achievement” made ​​by the National Front, who managed to better its score in the European elections. “This vote shows that the French want their freedom and understood that Another policy is possible,” said the National Front, in a statement at the party headquarters.

Marine Le Pen said that “the overwhelming number of second rounds which will present FN candidates and the eviction of PS candidates in over thousand cantons shows our success.”

The FN even won the first round several cantons: that of Eurville-Bienville in Haute-Marne (50.35%), Pontet Vaucluse (53.70%), Fréjus in the Var (51.17 %) of Vic-sur-Aisne in Aisne (53.80%).

Runoffs on March 29

It will be interesting to see the results on March 29. History suggests the left will hold their nose and vote for UMP.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock