Parisian mayoral candidate from the right of center UMP, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, has taken a surprise lead in the first round of voting. The mayoralty of Paris is France’s highest profile municipal election. If NKM wins, it will be seen as a signal the French have already had enough of President Francois Hollande and his Socialist government’s mismanagement.
In other cities the French continued to show their distaste for the policies of their Socialist president. The Front National, a right-wing party led by Marine Le Pen is hoping, realistically, to win the mayoralty of 15 mid-sized cities. That would be a new record for the nationalist party that has reinvented itself since Le Pen took over in 2011. Marianne Barriaux of the AFP reports.
Paris (AFP) – France’s far-right National Front party dealt a major blow to the ruling Socialists Sunday after several of its candidates took prime position in the first round of local elections.
The main centre-right opposition UMP party also hailed a “big victory” as initial estimates showed it came out trumps in the elections, as President Francois Hollande suffers record unpopularity against a backdrop of near-zero growth and high unemployment.
According to preliminary results from the interior ministry, the UMP and allies took 47 percent of the vote nationwide while the Socialist party and allies took 38 percent, and the FN five percent — far higher than its 0.9 percent result in the first round of 2008 municipal polls.
Applauding what she said was “an exceptional vintage for the FN”, Marine Le Pen — head of the anti-immigration, anti-EU party — said the polls marked the “end of the bipolarisation of the political scene”.
Although the FN had been expected to do well, the first round results were far better than expected.
In the French capital, the UMP was encouraged by an unexpected lead won by former Sarkozy minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who is competing against Anne Hidalgo, the daughter of Spanish immigrants, in a fierce battle that will see Paris get its first ever female mayor.
Hidalgo had largely been tipped as the favourite, but the results instead gave Kosciusko-Morizet a handy advantage going into the second round.