Far right takes lead in first round of France’s regional elections

The elections are a blow for president Francois Hollande.

Supporters react after the announcement of French National Front political party leader and candidate Marine Le Pen results during the first round of the regional elections at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, France on December 6.
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PARIS // Polling agency projections suggest the far right National Front took the lead in the first round of France’s regional elections.

The agencies Ifop, OpinionWay and Ipsos base their projections on actual vote count in select constituencies. They projected that the National Front won between 27 and 30 per cent support in Sunday’s voting, followed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans party and president Francois Hollande’s governing Socialists.

The elections on Sunday took place in an unusually tense security climate, expected to favour conservative and far right candidates and strike a new blow against the Socialists.

While National Front had significant support Sunday, the party may not be able to translate that into victory in the second-round voting December 13 for leadership of France’s 13 newly drawn regions.

* Associated Press