At the polls

Historic win for Marine Le Pen’s extreme-right Front National in France

France's far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen holds a press conference in Lille on December 7, 2015, a day after the first round of the French regional elections. The National Front (FN) stood at the gates of power in several regions after record scores in the first round of elections, held just three weeks after the Paris attacks. (DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

Front National, the French extreme-right party led by Marine Le Pen, made a historic breakthrough by winning more votes than any other party in the first round of the country’s regional elections, according to poll results. The interior ministry says the party won 30.8 percent of the national vote, becoming the biggest party in six out of 13 French midland regions and ending the domination of the two traditional parties, the Socialists (PS) and Conservatives (Les Républicains). This marks the highest score ever for the party, which ran on a socially conservative, anti-Europe, and anti-immigration platform which seems to have attracted a host of new voters since the terror attacks in Paris on November 13.  Marine Le Pen herself  achieved her personal best result with more than 40% of the vote in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie. Claiming victory on Twitter yesterday, she wrote: “The national movement is now unquestionably the first party of France.” The party’s hard line against immigrants and muslims often draws allegations of xenophobia and racism – just last week, MP Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, Marine’s 25 year old niece and a rising star in the party, was criticized for saying “We are not a land of Islam. In our country, we don’t wear djellaba clothing, we don’t wear a veil and we don’t impose cathedral-sized mosques.” The second round of the elections takes place next week, on December 13. If the Front National’s winning streak continues, it could greatly boost Le Pen’s chances in the 2017 presidential elections.

Read the full story at The Independent and The Guardian.

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