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Sarkozy's conservatives shun Socialist calls for pact against far right

AFP | Socialist leader Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (left) and conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy (right) are under pressure to respond to the National Front's huge gains in Sunday's first round of regional elections.

France's ruling Socialist Party said Monday it was pulling third-placed candidates out of the second round of regional elections after Sunday's crushing National Front lead. Conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy is not following suit.


Here is a recap of Monday's main developments:

  • The National Front (FN) picked up 28% of the vote nationally, in Sunday's first-round, ahead of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative Les Républicains party and their allies, who secured 27 percent of the national vote. President François Hollande’s ruling Socialists came third, polling 23%.
  • Marine Le Pen's FN now looks on course to take control of at least one French region for the first time in its history once the second round of voting takes place a week from now. Her party led in 6 out of 13 regions in the first round.
  • FN leader Le Pen and her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen garnered more than 40 percent of the vote in both the north region and the southeast region, with the Socialists and conservatives far behind.
  • The Socialist Party has pulled out its candidates, in regions in the north, east and southeast of France, in a bid to stop the far right from winning next Sunday, but Sarkozy's conservatives have rejected any form of tactical voting.
  • Going against party orders, Socialist Party candidate Jean-Pierre Masseret, who is standing in the eastern Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne region, said that he would not pull out of the second-round vote.

Follow the rest of the day's events, as they unfolded, with our live blog below.



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