French far-right reaches record score in regional elections

France’s National Front makes major breakthrough in first round of regional elections, coming first in six regions out of 13

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, candidate for National Front in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) celebrates the results of the first round of the regional elections in Le Pontet, near Avignon, France, December 6, 2015.

France's far-right National Front (FN) dominates first round of regional elections on Sunday, gaining the highest score ever as an anti-Europe, anti-immigration party, which won in six regions out of 13.

Polling agencies projected the FN secured between 27.2 and 30.3 percent of the vote nationally, according to early estimates.

Sarkozy's conservative Republicans party and their allies came second in the nationwide vote, at just under 27 percent, with the Socialists in third place at 22.7 percent, according to an interim count of votes.

"This is a historic, extraordinary result," FN lawmaker Marion Marechal Le Pen told French media, according to Reuters.

"The old system died tonight."

Twenty-five year old Marechal Le Pen, the niece of party leader Marine, led the first round in southeast France with 42 percent.

Marine Le Pen, who prepares to seek presidency in 2017, said that FN was "without contest the first party of France," describing the results as “magnificent.”

She is due to be judged this week for inciting religious hatred against Muslims, after comparing them praying in the street to the wartime Nazi occupation.

Around half the 45 million registered voters took part in the elections, which were held under a state of emergency over three weeks, following the deadly Paris attacks -carried out by DAESH terrorists- in which 130 people were killed.

FN’s success has triggered a discussion among mainstream parties, as they plan to urge voters to back the candidate opposing the National Front in regions where they were in third place.

Socialist leader Jean Christophe Cambadelis said that his party would withdraw from the second round in two regions "to block" the FN.

The FN's achievement comes as thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa boost support for Eurosceptic parties across Europe.

The second round of the elections will be held on December 13, which will be the last election before France votes for its president in 2017.

TRTWorld and agencies