Far-left leader concedes defeat in battle with Le Pen
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France's far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon conceded defeat to the far-right National Front's Marine Le Pen (pictured) following a first round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, saying he would not compete in the June 17 second round.
AFP - French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon conceded defeat to anti-immigrant leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday's first-round parliamentary election, saying he would not stand in the second round.
Left Front leader Melenchon had taken Le Pen and her far-right National Front party head-on in a bitter battle in Henin-Beaumont, a rundown former mining constituency near the northern city of Lille.
"It's normal to be disappointed but we must not be defeated," Melenchon said.
Melenchon said he would not stand in next Sunday's second round after coming third, instead leaving his Socialist rival to battle Le Pen.
Le Pen claimed that the result meant her party, which wants to ditch the euro, was now France's third political power.
"Given the abstention rate and a profoundly anti-democratic electoral system that has for 25 years deprived millions of voters of MPs, we confirm our position tonight as France's third political force," Le Pen said.
Although the party has not won a seat in parliament since 1986, Le Pen is seeking to build on her strong showing in the presidential vote and cement her party's place in national politics.
Melenchon won 11 percent of votes in the April-May presidential vote that was won by Socialist Francois Hollande, while Le Pen won almost 18 percent of votes.