Surprising results of French local Elections
In a surprising sweep of the second leg of the French local elections last Sunday, far-right party the National Front (FN) took control of at least 14 towns and around 1,200 municipal seats around the country, marking this year’s elections a historic win for the party which had always been hailed as a minority.
FN leader Marine Le Pen was ecstatic of her party’s success and said ‘We have moved onto a new level. There is now a third major political force in our country.’ Marine Le Pen helped improve the image of FN since she took over leadership from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011.
The FN’s victory at the local level is also seen as a move that could lead to a political shift in the 2017 Presidential Elections. President Francois Hollande’s government has been so far dominated by the centre-left Socialist Party (PS) and the main opposition centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
Disappointment at Hollande’s Socialist administration over a stagnant economy and rise in unemployment was seen as the reason why a majority of voters sided with FN in the local elections. The Socialists weren’t helped by the fact that only 62% of the voting population turned up in the polls. Socialist lawmakers have dubbed their astounding loss as ‘Black Sunday.’
Marine Le Pen and the Frente Nacional (FN)
But the ruling party still had cause to celebrate in Paris, which was won by their candidate Anne Hidalgo, the first female mayor of the French capital. Meanwhile, ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP also performed strongly across the country by winning some of the Socialist Party’s strongholds.