France’s far-right National Front crashes in regional elections despite early lead
A far-right party appears to have failed to win a single area in France’s regional elections – despite topping the polls last month.
In the first round of voting, the country’s National Front party (Front Nationale) beat out both the governing Socialist Party and the centre-right opposition, picking up 27.88% of the vote.
Marine Le Pen’s FN party was ahead in at least six of France’s 13 regions as the party headed into this week’s run-off elections.
However, despite the early lead the party appears to have lost out in the second round, beaten into third place behind both the Socialists and the centre-right.
The failure to win any of the country’s 13 regions is in part due to increased turnout and tactical voting – with the Socialists withdrawing from some areas to allow for a united anti-FN vote.
The FN’s rise in popularity, which pundits claim is party a result of the Paris terrorist attacks last month, has raised concerns about the homophobic and anti-Semitic views that are mainstream in the party.
The FN has previously been accused of fostering homophobic violence by aligning itself with aggressive anti-equal marriage factions – though it claims it has since reformed.
The party still a number of openly homophobic politicians who have attacked the “evil homosexual lobby” – though vice president Florian Philippot was outed last year by Closer magazine.
Marine Le Pen says that “nothing can stop” the patty, adding the party is now “the main opposition force in most of the regions of France.”
The party has previously signalled that it would strip away President Hollande’s equal marriage reforms, with Presidential and Parliamentary elections set for 2017.
Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage has previously ruled out working with Le Pen, accusing her party of “anti-Semitism and general prejudice”.