The Front National (FN) has won 27-30% of the vote in the first round of France’s regional elections.
This vote share is the highest the far-right party has ever gained, and they came top of the poll in half of the regions. The FN has never before had control of any region, in the 2010 regional elections they got 11% of the national vote.
The FN did particularly well in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, where Marine le Pen is standing. This is a working-class area and traditionally a stronghold for the left; it includes Calais. Le Pen made the issue of the “jungle” migrant camp a large part of her campaign.
FN also did well in richer regions. Le Pen’s niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen topped polls with 40% in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, which includes some of the richest towns in France. Maréchal-Le Pen has said Muslims cannot be French unless they “yield to the manners and way of life from France’s Christian traditions”.
The final result will be decided in a second vote on 13 December, after we go to press. The FN are however on course for a large victory and this should alarm anti-racists across Europe.