Marine Le Pen fails to make gains in French local elections – POLITICO
PARIS — The candidate for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally lost out to the center-right in the southern French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in local elections Sunday.
National Rally candidate Thierry Mariani got 42.7 percent of the vote, against 57.3 percent for the incumbent regional president Renaud Muselier for Les Républicains.
The loss is great disappointment for Le Pen, who was hoping to take at least one region in Sunday’s local ballots to boost to her presidential bid for 2022. The far-right leader is gearing up for her third attempt at taking the Elysée and polls show she and Emmanuel Macron are neck-and-neck for April’s vote.
With the regional elections seen as important bellwethers for the national mood, the conservative Les Républicains have made a significant comeback, with several possible rivals to Macron getting good results.
Former minister Xavier Bertrand obtained 52.37 percent of the vote in the Hauts-de-France region, against 25.65 percent for the National Rally candidate.
Bertrand’s center-right party will be hoping to use successes in these elections to project itself as the main opposition force against Macron. While the party is yet to confirm its presidential candidate, Bertrand insists he will run.
Several candidates for Macron’s La République En Marche (LREM) had already been knocked out of the first round of the election on June 20, when the party scored only 11 percent of the vote at a national level.
Speaking on BFMTV on Sunday, Stanislas Guerini, the leader of LREM, said the results were “a disappointment” but that the party had played a role in defeating the National Rally.
All incumbent regional presidents from the mainstream left and right maintained their seats.
UPDATE: This article was updated with official election results.