French far-right, Macron party fail in regional elections

Photo: EPA Marine Le Pen

The French far right failed once again to win a single region in elections on Sunday, exit polls showed. The southern Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) had been seen as the far-right Rassemblement National party's best opportunity to secure its first-ever regional power base, but other parties united to keep it out.

The result is close to depriving its leader Marine Le Pen of a chance to show her party is fit for power ahead of next year's presidential election. "This evening we won't win in any region because incumbents entered into unnatural alliances and did all they could to keep us out and prevent us from showing the French our capacity to lead a regional administration," Le Pen told supporters. 

She blasted the government for a disastrously organised vote after roughly two in every three voters abstained. The results raise questions over how successful Le Pen's strategy of softening the image of her anti-immigration, euro-sceptic party to try to eat into the traditional right's vote has been. 

In a humiliating election night for President Emmanuel Macron, his party failed to win a single region. However, a government source said that while a reshuffle was not on the cards, a few adjustments were possible.

The exit polls showed that the vote was won in each of France's 13 regions by the incumbent centre-right or centre-left lists as Macron's ruling party, which did not exist at the time of the last regional vote in 2015, failed to secure a single region on its own. In Provence, exit polls showed the incumbent conservatives triumphing by a margin of roughly 10 points in the run-off vote

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