The Sunday before last, France held the first of two rounds of Regional elections, elections which would determine who sits in the Regional governments and so will have considerable influence in France’s national elections in 2017 (French Departments, sections of Regions, have more legislative authority and more influence on national elections and the national government). Marine Le Pen’s National Front led strongly at the end of that first round. The National Front is ultra-rightist, ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration, anti-Semitic, and anti-free market; it’s the quintessential Government is the solution and the Only Option party in France.
Last Sunday, after some…arrangements…between Nicolas Sarkozy’s center right/right Les Republicains and François Hollande’s French Socialist Party wherein the Socialists withdrew their candidates in a number of Regions so as to allow the Republicains’ candidate to collect more votes, the National Front was nearly completely shut out: the Socialists appear to have won five of the Regional elections, the Republicains seven or eight, and the National Front may have won in Corsica.
The following table shows each major party’s performance by region. The bolded candidates received the most votes, and were thus elected president of their respective regions. The Union of the Right is, essentially, Nicolas Sarkozy’s group, the Union of the Left is, essentially, François Hollande’s, the National Front is Marine Le Pen’s, and Regionalists are regional local candidates.
France can take a measure of satisfaction at having beaten back the National Front of Marine Le Pen. The French economy, much less its foreign policy, would have been badly damaged by the National Front’s policies.
But it’s only a temporary setback, as those numbers for Regional President indicate. Those nationalist, anti-Semitic, and anti-free market folks didn’t lose very many races by a large margin. They’re still a threat for the 2017 national elections.