France holds second round of regional elections

Far-right National Front hopes to consolidate its victory in first round elections held last week

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party leader, casts her ballot in the second-round regional elections in Henin-Beaumont, France on December 13, 2015

French voters go to the polls on Sunday for the second round of regional elections that will show whether far-right National Front (FN) can consolidate its gains from the first round of the elections held last week.

First elections since Paris attacks that killed 130 people resulted in a major breakthrough of Marine Le Pen’s party FN last week.

Anti-immigration, anti-Europe party FN is leading in six out of 13 regions in France.

However, opinion polls show that the center-right Republican opposition of Nicholas Sarkozy has gained ground since the first round of the elections.

In the first round, ruling Socialists were moved to third place by the Republicans.

The FN secured 27.73 percent of the vote in the first round, followed by Sarkozy’s Republicans on 26.65 percent and French President Francois Hollande’s Socialists with 23.12 percent.

Marine Le Pen, who is preparing to run for president in 2017, said that FN was "without contest the first party of France," describing the results as “magnificent.”

The elections, seen as a gauge of public support for the government’s response to the deadly Paris attacks, were held under a state of emergency and three weeks after the attacks, carried out by DAESH terrorists in which 130 people were killed.

TRTWorld and agencies