Le Pen’s National Front loses in 2nd round of French regional elections
With almost all of the ballots counted, the center-right Les Republicains, led by the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, have secured seven of the country’s 13 regions. Five others have gone to the Socialists, headed by Francois Hollande. Despite a resounding success during the first round, none of the regions went to the Front National in the second.
In the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Le Pen was beaten by Xavier Bertrand from the center-right The Republicans (formerly the UMP). According to the election commission, Le Pen won 42.23 percent while Bertrand secured 57.77 percent.
Le Pen’s niece, Marion Marechal Le Pen lost to Republican Christian Estrosi in Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur.
Les Republicans managed to win after the Socialist Party announced that it had withdrawn candidates in three regions – the north, east and southeast, where the National Front made major success – and urged their supporters to vote for the Republicans in an attempt to prevent the far-right party from gaining power.
Bertrand thanked his voters and those from the Socialist Party who voted for him to keep Le Pen out. However, in his Facebook post he said that he “will never forget the results of the first round” when the National Front won, which was like a "thunderclap" to him.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls from the Socialist Party said that although Le Pen’s party had failed to win, "the danger posed by the far-right has not gone away, far from it."
"Tonight, there is no place for relief or triumphalism," Valls added.
In her speech after the closure of the polls Le Pen thanked "6 million patriotic voters".
"In its northern and southern bastions we've eradicated the evil-doing Socialist Party," she said. "By tripling our number of councilors, we will be the main opposition force in most of the regions of France.”
The politician said that the results would not discourage the "inexorable rise, election after election, of a national movement" behind the party. She strongly criticized "defamation decided in gilded palaces," adding that those who voted for her party managed to resist "intimidation, infantilization and manipulations."
"Rien ne pourra nous arrêter. Vive la République française, vive la Nation, vive la France !" #NPDCP— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) December 13, 2015
Former member Yvan Blot told RT that he is not surprised by the results of the vote.
“With 30 percent of the voters, without any friends, it is impossible to gain some power now,” he added.
However, not all voters were happy after the Socialists pulled their candidates from the second round of elections.
"Since the Socialist Party has pulled out, I feel like they've stolen my vote," a 56-year-old Didier from Lille told AFP.
Le Pen’s party won the first round of regional elections on December 6 by securing 28 percent of the vote. The result came ahead of former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans which took 27 percent and President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party which gained only 23 percent of the vote.
In the wake of the this year’s deadly terror attacks in Paris, the daughter of the party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been gaining more popularity with her anti-immigrant stance and eurosceptic policies.
In September Le Pen compared a surge in asylum seekers entering Europe to the invasion of Rome by barbarians.