France returned to the polling stations on Sunday for the second and final round of voting to decide the make-up of the councils that will govern the country’s 13 new ‘super’ regions. Though in the first-round voting the far-right Front National drew massive support, arriving in first position in six regions, it failed to win control of a single region in the second round. Thus in many ways the outcome was a setback for Marine Le Pen’s party, as many conservative and left-wing voters voted tactically to keep the far-right out of power. Yet the Front National showed that it is now firmly implanted in all of France apart from the Greater Paris region, and with more than 6.6 million French people voting for it the party beat its previous record set at the 2012 presidential elections. Meanwhile the ruling Socialist Party did better than many predicted, picking up five of the regions, though it lost control of Greater Paris. On the other hand Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative Les Républicains picked up only seven regions – some thanks to tactical voting from the Left – a mediocre performance for the leading mainstream opposition party that will raise question marks over the former president’s leadership. Here is Mediapart’s live coverage of the results, reaction and analysis in English.
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