After their victories in the first round of the local elections last Sunday, Marine Le Pen’s extreme right-wing Front National has been dealt a massive but unexpected blow, as it failed to win a single region in the second round. Just last week, the party came out on top in six of twelve regions in mainland France, which lead to millions of moderate voters flocking to the polls for yesterday’s second round. According to the polls, the centre-right Républicains, led by former president Nicolas Sarkozy, will have won seven or eight regions, and the Socialists, party of current president Hollande, four or five. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the election result as a “victory for the Republic” and the “values of fraternity, common sense and togetherness” which had always triumphed in the “darkest moments of our country’s history.” Despite the disappointing defeat, the Front National managed to gather some 7 million votes nationwide — breaking their previous record of 6.4 million votes in the 2012 presidential election and confirming the party’s reputation as a rising threat to France’s two traditional parties. Le Pen remained defiant, calling the result a “formidable victory” that still has her on track to win the presidency in 2017. “This election has shown that there are only two forces in the country,” she said. “The forces of globalisation which want to sink France in some kind of internationalist mess, and the forces of patriotism and national identity.”
Read the full story at The Independent.