Angelique Chrisafis writes for The Guardian in Paris:
Even if the rising tide of the far right Front National (FN) had been held back – temporarily at least – by tactical voting and a leap in turnout, the lessons were clear to see. The nationalist, anti-immigration, anti-European party was here to stay.
There were no winners in an election that consisted of establishment parties running around at the last minute trying desperately to outwit what they warned was a racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and overwhelmingly dangerous party.
There was no serious examination of the reasons why voters were turning away from the parties of government and flocking to the FN not just as a mere protest vote, but as a political alternative.
When the FN made a historic breakthrough and took nearly 28% of the vote in the first round of the regional elections, it was yet another moment in which the party was ranked as “the most popular in France” after successively topping a series of polls from the European elections onwards in a steady rise.
Even if the FN has failed to win overall control of a region – just as it had failed to win overall control of any smaller local départements earlier this year – its broad trajectory is on the up.