France's Socialists led in Sunday's local elections with 35 percent of the vote, followed by President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party with 18 percent, early results show. The far-right National Front finished in third place with 10 percent.
AFP - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling party suffered a rebuke in local elections Sunday that saw the Socialists surge and the Far Right cement its popularity ahead of next year's presidential vote.
The opposition Socialist Party (PS) took 36.2 percent in the second round of voting in the elections to local councils in France's 100 departments, followed by Sarkozy's UMP with 18.6 percent and the extreme right National Front (FN) with 11.1 percent, according to preliminary results.
FRENCH LOCAL ELECTIONS 2011
The vote also saw record low turnout rates, with only 45 percent of voters going to the polls, according to polling group Ipsos.
In the first round of voting last Sunday the FN registered 15 percent of the vote. It was the FN's best-ever performance at this level, reflecting a surge in interest in the party since Marine Le Pen, daughter of longtime leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, took the helm in January.
An opinion poll published Sunday said Marine Le Pen would qualify for the second and decisive round of voting in next year's presidential poll whoever the Socialist candidate was and in most cases would knock out Sarkozy in the first round.
Date created : 2011-03-27