//Turnout Sours In French Regional Elections
French National Front Challenged in Regional Elections

Turnout Sours In French Regional Elections

Turnout figures were 7 per cent higher than for the previous regional elections in 2010, with 50.4 per cent of those eligible to vote casting ballots by 5pm (4pm GMT), three hours before polls close in big cities.

by Peter Allen and Imogen Calderwood

The battle to keep Marine Le Pen’s controversial National Front out of power has dramatically driven up the turnout in the French regional elections.

Turnout figures were 7 per cent higher than for the previous regional elections in 2010, with 50.4 per cent of those eligible to vote casting ballots by 5pm (4pm GMT), three hours before polls close in big cities.

The second-round turnout at the same time five years ago was 43.4 per cent.

Candidates have been battling to the last minute to lure out the nearly 50 per cent who failed to vote in the December 6 first round, because their votes could be vital.

French Politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen
Marine Le Pen’s 26-year-old niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen (AFP/Getty Images)

France’s National Front accused tactical voters seeking to block its path to power in two key regions of ‘intellectual terrorism’.

The far right party was focusing on the link between uncontrolled immigration and terrorism as it tried to secure a launchpad for its leader, Marine Le Pen, to become president in 2017.

They won six of 13 regions in last weekend’s first round, benefitting from security fears in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13 which claimed the lives of 130 people.

But the governing Socialist Party – which came just third in the first round – has now withdrawn its candidates from two key regions and urged supporters to back former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative Republicans.

This could make it impossible for National Front (FN) candidates to win, not least of all Marine, who is trying to take the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardia region.

The area includes the port of Calais, where up to 5,000 migrants are currently sleeping rough as they try to get to Britain, where they will claim asylum or disappear into the black economy.

But the Socialists fear that some of their supporters might stay home rather than go and vote for the party of Sarkozy, who is widely despised by the left.

Source: DailyMail

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