The opposition Socialist Party comprehensively won French local elections on Sunday as the far-right National Front surged, between them pressuring President Nicolas Sarkozy a year before he faces the electorate.
With most votes counted in the second round of polls to elect ‘cantonal’ councils in half of France, the left had 49.9 percent against 35.9 percent for the ruling conservative UMP, according to Interior Ministry figures.
Socialist Party head Martine Aubry said she welcomed the results “with humility” given the low turnout and a strong showing for the anti-immigrant National Front.
The National Front, which has surged in opinion polls under new leader Marine Le Pen, scored 11 percent even though it put up candidates in only a minority of departments. In some areas it scored as much as 40 percent.
Despite a low turnout of around 46 percent, the polls will be seen as the last big test of sentiment before the April 2012 election, set to pit the unpopular Sarkozy against left-wing rivals growing in strength and a surging far right…
The prospect that Sarkozy might not even make it into a runoff has caused alarm and disarray in the UMP.
Anyone think the “ethics of Sarkozy’s UMP will prove different from their kissing cousins in the Republican Party? Their response to bigotry and racism will be to embrace the National Front with open arms.
Hugs and kisses all round for the 19th Century.