[QODLink]
Europe

France's far-right makes local election gains

Early results show anti-immigrant National Front party winning at least four towns in Sunday's local elections.

Last updated: 30 Mar 2014 20:32
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
FN leader Marine Le Pen claims duopoly of French politics must now reckon with a 'third force' [AFP]

France's far-right National Front (FN) has beaten its previous record in local elections by winning at least four towns, based on exit poll results.

FN candidates gained a total of nine percent of the vote in Sunday's runoff and looked set to secure the southern towns of Beziers and Frejus, amid public dissatisfaction with President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party.

The FN was also likely to win the eastern town of Hayange, the outgoing Socialist mayor there said. The party already made a breakthrough in last week's first round of voting by winning power in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont. 

"Clearly we are entering a new phase, the duopoly of French politics has been broken and we must reckon with a third force," said Marine Le Pen, leader of the FN.

Hollande's loses

Sunday's runoff round of voting came after a week that saw French unemployment surge to a new record, making a reverse of first-round losses by the Socialists unlikely and a cabinet reshuffle possible as early as Monday. 

Some 80 percent of the French want Hollande to dismiss Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, according to a Harris Interactive poll this week, and ambitious and tough-talking Interior Minister Manuel Valls is their favourite to replace him. Veteran Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is also seen a contender for the job.

Despite the election losses, Hollande's government has said it will stick with economic reforms and spending cuts.

The next presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2017.

245

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
join our mailing list