Socialists set to seize local seats from Sarkozy’s party

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives lost ground in nationwide local elections Sunday, with Socialist-led left-wing parties garnering 25% of the vote, the far right some 14% and Sarkozy’s UMP some 16%, according to initial estimates.


REUTERS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives lost ground to the left-wing opposition and the far-right in the first round of nationwide local elections on Sunday, according to initial estimates.

The decisive second round of the departmental elections for some 2,000 local councillors will be held on March 27.

Projections broadcast by LCI television based on partial results, showed the Socialist-led left-wing opposition winning about 25 percent of the vote, with Sarkozy's centre-right UMP party set to take 16 percent and the far-right National Front around 14 percent.

It was the last popular vote before next year's presidential election, in which Sarkozy is expected to seek a second five-year term.

The abstention rate in Sunday's poll was expected to exceed 50 percent according to the interior ministry.


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