The French National Front (FN) failed to gain control of any regions in the second election round Sunday, but managed to stir up to the political climate in France by kicking socialists out of power in seven regions.
The right-wing, anti-immigration party celebrated victories in six regions during the first round last weekend. When the polls closed Sunday night for the second round, it became clear it failed to take any of the districts.
The outcome was fairly expected and is a result of tactical voting that usually takes place in the second round. Elections go to a second round unless a party manages to gain a majority of the votes. Parties and coalitions with at least 10 percent of the votes can enter the second round, which made a three-way race between the Socialist Party, Republicans and FN in most of the regions.
The Socialists realized FN’s numbers in the first round would likely win it the election in the regions where it received above 40 percent of the votes. For this reason, the socialist candidates decided to drop out and urged supporters to vote Republican.
FN leader Marine Le Pen called the strategy “intellectual terrorism,” but was pleased FN managed to pull off a “total eradication” of socialism in France.
The Socialists only held five of the 12 regions they won in the last election in 2010.
Le Pen is still optimistic about FN’s gains, making it the leading opposition in several regions.
“Nothing can stop us now,” she says. “By tripling our numbers of councillors, we will be the main opposition force in most of the regions of France.”
Experts say this will give Le Pen and FN a “huge springboard” going into the 2017 presidential elections.
Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls is on the same page and warned FN will only continue to grow.
“Tonight, no sigh of relief, no sign of triumphalism,” he says. “The danger of the far-right is still around.”