With polls closed but not all votes counted, the Marine Le Pen’s Eurosceptic, anti-immigration National Front party is expected to win the first round of voting in six of France’s 13 regions.
There will be a second round vote next Sunday in all of the regions because no party captured more than 50% of the vote in any region.
Projections now show the National Front, which has never won a regional election, can win as many as four regions in the final vote.
No Surprise Shock
This was a Historic Result for the National Front but it does need follow-through next week.
France’s far-right National Front party appeared on course for a historic victory in the first round of regional elections on Sunday, winning more than 30 per cent of the vote and delivering a stunning blow to the country’s traditional parties.
An early, and partial, official count suggested the FN was ahead in six of the country’s 13 regions. Projections suggest the result, if confirmed, could be sufficient to win up to four regions in the second round on Sunday.
Ms Le Pen, described the result as “magnificent”, adding that it showed that the FN was now “without contest the first party of France”.
She was leading as FN candidate in the northern region of France with more than 40 per cent of the vote while Marion Marechal-Le Pen, her niece, was also in the lead with more than 40 per cent of the vote in the south-eastern region of the country.
Victory in even just one of France’s 13 regions — definitive results will be known after next Sunday’s second-round vote — would be a first for the FN, helping to build momentum as it looks to the 2017 presidential contest, in which Ms Le Pen intends to run.
James Shields, professor of French politics at Aston University said: “These results are a shock but they shouldn’t be a surprise.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right Republicans party and allies were leading in four regions and had a national count of 27.4 per cent, according to the partial count.
President François Hollande’s Socialists and leftwing allies were ahead in only three regions with just 22.7 per cent of the vote — a crushing result for a political bloc that, at present, holds all but one of the regions.
Stop Le Pen
A “Stop Le Pen” movement is underway in France but as with the “Stop Trump” movement in the US, no one seems to know how best to go about it.
Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls suggested an alliance between the socialists and Sarkozy, but the latter quickly rebuffed the offer. Sarkozy commented “We must hear and understand the profound exasperation of the French people.”
The Financial Times commented “In spite of Mr Sarkozy’s remarks, uniting may be the only way to damp the electoral chances of Ms Le Pen and her party. Yet there are no guarantees that doing so would work. And it may even play into her hands, furnishing Ms Le Pen’s long-held argument that France’s left and right are part of the same problem.”
Indeed. People are fed up over immigration, jobs, Brussels, and many things of their own foolish doing.
I compared the “Stop Trump” and “Stop Le Pen” movements on December 2 in Triumph of Trumpism and LePenism; Waiting for a Volunteer Mouse.
There are still no volunteer mice in either country. Next week will be interesting.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock