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france local elections 2015

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Conservative UMP Party and its allies appear to have come first in the final round of French local elections.

The UMP appeared set to secure more than 60 local councils, exit polls suggested, up from 41.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front also appeared to have made gains, while the ruling Socialists and their allies may lose about 30 departments.

These elections are seen as a test case ahead of 2017’s presidential election.

Paris and Lyon, France’s two biggest cities, were excluded from Sunday’s election.

The National Front appeared to have won a significant number of seats in Sunday’s second round of elections, but it was not clear if it had gained control of any councils, the exit polls said.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen hailed a “historic” day for the FN, saying: “I thank all our voters for this magnificent success.”

PM Manuel Valls admitted that the Socialist Party had lost ground, and said that the rise in the National Front’s popularity showed a lasting change in France’s political landscape.

He vowed to redouble efforts to boost the economy.

Nicolas Sarkozy said voters had rejected the policies of his successor as president, Francois Hollande.

“Never has our political family won so many councils,” he told supporters.

Francois Hollande has suffered from slumping personal ratings, boosted only briefly by his response to January’s terror attacks in Paris.

French voters have been electing representatives in 101 departments, or counties, charged with issues like schools and welfare.

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Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party and its allies have taken first place in the first round of French local elections, partial results show.

Projections suggest that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front (FN) – despite strong gains – came second with about 25% of the vote, behind the conservatives on about 30%.

President Francois Hollande’s governing Socialists came third with 21%.

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

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

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy said outcome of the elections demonstrated “the French people’s profound desire for change”.

“The conditions for a massive swing back to the right and the centre are in place,” he added.

Nicolas Sarkozy also ruled out any “local or national” deals with the FN in constituencies where one of the two parties was involved in run-offs with the Socialists.

In the past, voters for rival parties have rallied against the far right group in the second round of voting.

The poor results for the Socialists follows on from their defeats in municipal and EU elections last year.

Some polls ahead of the vote had indicated that Marine Le Pen’s FN could come top in the first round.

Marine Le Pen had been hoping the elections would build momentum ahead of her expected bid for the presidency in 2017.

Socialist PM Manuel Valls welcomed the news that the FN had scored less that some had predicted, saying the results showed it was not the strongest force in French politics.

However, Marine Le Pen called for Manuel Valls to resign, celebrating what she said was a “massive vote” for her party, exceeding its performance in the European Parliament elections.

For the first time, voters in these elections are not choosing single candidates – but pairs of candidates – one man and one woman – in order to enforce strict gender equality in local politics.

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French people are voting in local elections in which Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party (FN) is expected to score big gains.

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

Sunday’s first round will be followed a second in a week’s time.National Front France local elections 2015

Polls suggest that the Socialists of President Francois Hollande will suffer another setback, after defeats in municipal and EU elections last year.

The Socialists and the centre-right UMP have been joined by the FN, not as a freakish upstart but a serious contender for power.

The FN has benefited from economic stagnation, high unemployment, and general hostility to mainstream parties.

The governing Socialists and their left-wing allies are expected to take the biggest hit, losing many of the 61 departments they hold.

The FN is also taking voters from the UMP, which has struggled to unify behind a single leader since the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election.

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