PARIS Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front did not win any region in French elections on Sunday, in a setback to her hopes of getting a serious presidential contender in 2017.
The regional election run-off, in which the conservatives won seven constituencies and the Socialists five, was no true victory for either of these two mainstream parties, shaken by the far-right’s developing appeal to disillusioned voters.
Boosted by fears about security and immigration after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris a month ago that killed 130 individuals, the National Front (FN) had won far more votes than any other party nationally in final week’s very first round.
Despite the fact that it won no area on Sunday right after the Socialists 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 location for relief or triumphalism,” Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated. “The danger posed by the far appropriate has not gone away far from it.”
Sarkozy struck a similar theme, calling the powerful FN displaying a “warning sent to all politicians, ourselves incorporated, in the very first round”.
“We now have to take the time for in-depth debates about what worries the French, who expect powerful and precise answers,” he stated, citing Europe, unemployment, security and national identity troubles.
Le Pen, who had hoped to use regional power as a springboard to enhance her chances in 2017 presidential elections, lost by a huge margin in northern France on Sunday, where she led her party’s ticket, attracting 42.8 % of the votes in the run-off vs 57.two % for the conservatives.
Lengthy content with attracting protest votes, the FN has changed method since Le Pen took the party over from her father Jean-Marie in 2011, looking for to create a base of locally elected officials to target the best levels of energy.
But even though it has been winning far more and more votes in each and every election considering that then, its isolation in France’s politics means it cannot strike the alliances it would need to win main constituencies. So it failed as soon as much more on Sunday to turn growing reputation into energy.
In the southeast, one more FN target exactly where Le Pen’s niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen was the FN’s lead candidate, the conservatives scored 53.7 percent and the FN 46.two %, official benefits based on 84 percent of the votes mentioned.
“There are victories that shame the winners,” Marechal-Le Pen stated, slamming the Socialists’ selection to pull out of the race for the run-off.
Aside from immigration issues, which have been boosting nationalistic parties in other European nations also, the FN’s rise has been built on deep disaffection with mainstream politics amongst French voters and a aggravation with President Francois Hollande’s inability to reduce unemployment.
With five regional wins out of 13, the Socialists did significantly less badly than they had feared but it was still a large defeat. Regional boundaries had been redrawn soon after the 2010 election, in which the Socialists had won 21 out of 22 regions.
Sarkozy, weakened by his party’s poor showing in the very first round, said the National Front’s high score need to be a warning to all mainstream politicians.
Among those in his party elected thanks to left-wing voters and a much larger turnout in the run-offs, there was no triumphalism.
“I thank the voters for defending our stunning region,” stated Xavier Bertrand, the Republicans’ major candidate in Nord-Pas de Calais-Picardie. “I also want to thank the voters of the Left who clearly voted to create a rampart” against the FN.
The regional election, the final 1 just before the 2017 presidential and parliamentary ballots, was seen as a test for its primary contenders, Hollande, Sarkozy and Le Pen.
“An quick danger was avoided,” left-leaning Catholic daily La Croix wrote in an editorial.
“But if no answers are made to the French people’s issues, the National Front will continue its rise until the presidential election,” it said in a front-page headlined: “Defeat for all.”
(Additional reporting by Matthias Blamont, Andrew Callus, Morade Azzouz and Geert De Clercq Editing by Andrew Callus and Jonathan Oatis)