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france regional elections

Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National (National Front) has failed to win a single region in the second round of elections, exit polls indicate.

According to early, the FN has been beaten into third place, despite leading in six of 13 regions in the first round of votes a week ago.

The polls predict Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right Republicans will win most seats ahead of the ruling Socialists.

Acknowledging defeat, Marine Le Pen pledged to keep fighting.

She blamed the outcome on the mainstream parties which joined forces to keep the FN from power, telling her supporters they had been “disenfranchised in the most indecent of ways by a campaign of lies and disinformation”.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen stood as a candidate in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie. Her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen was standing in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, in the south.

After both secured more than 40% of the vote in the first round, the trailing Socialist candidates in those regions pulled out so their voters could support the Republican candidate against the FN for the second round.

One poll suggested Marine Le Pen had secured 42.5% in the second round in her region, against the centre-right’s 57.5%.

Xavier Bertrand, who is leading in Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, said the French had given “a lesson of rallying together, courage. Here we stopped the progression of the National Front.”

Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls was less upbeat. He warned the “danger posed by the far right has not gone away, far from it”.

Nicolas Sarkozy said now was the time “for in-depth debates about what worries the French”, noting security concerns, unemployment and frustration with the EU.

These elections were to vote for councils and presidents of the 13 French regions, which have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

French media are predicting that the Republicans have taken seven regions and the Socialists five, with nationalists winning Corsica. Official results are expected early on December 14.

The first round of voting on December 6 gave the FN the best election results in its history.

It was the first electoral test since last month’s Paris attacks claimed by ISIS, in which 130 people were killed.

In the lead-up to the first round, opinion polls suggested that the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU FN had increased since the deadly attacks.

The FN had been hoping a strong performance would boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the 2017 presidential election.

France is voting in regional elections, the first electoral test since last month’s Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed.

According to opinion polls, there will be a strong showing for the far-right National Front (FN).

The center-right led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to win in most regions at the expense of the governing Socialist Party.

December 6 first round will be followed by a run-off on December 13.

French regions have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

The election is also being closely watched after opinion polls suggested the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front had increased since the attacks on November 13.France regional elections 2015

National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen is likely to win in the northern region of Nord-Pas-De-Calais-Picardie, while her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen is a leading contender in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south.

It would be the first time the FN has captured any of France’s regions. The party is hoping a strong performance will boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the 2017 presidential election.

Both Nicolas Sarkozy’s Les Republicains party and the FN appear to be heading for about 30% of votes, according to opinion polls, but President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party is trailing on about 22%.

PM Manuel Valls made an “appeal to patriotism” on December 3 in an effort to rally the Socialist vote.

The election is being held under a state of emergency which was declared after the Paris attacks.

On December 4, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said police were seeking two new suspects accused of aiding the fugitive suspect from the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam, who lived in Belgium.

They are “armed and dangerous” and are thought to have helped Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September.

Investigators say Salah Abdeslam may have driven the suicide bombers at the Stade de France to their target on the night of the Paris attacks.

However, Salah Abdeslam’s precise role in the attacks remains unclear. There are suggestions he was meant to carry out a suicide attack on the night but decided against it.