Front National top, Left eliminated in southern French by-election
The Front National candidate comfortably scored the highest number of votes in a cantonal by-election on Sunday in the southern town of Brignoles, where the Socialist-backed candidate was eliminated.
The Front National candidate, Laurent Lopez now goes through to a second round of voting where he will face Catherine Delzers, the candidate for Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party.
The Socialists supported a Communist candidate, Laurent Carratala, who came third.
He has already called upon his voters to vote for the UMP candidate in order to prevent an FN win in the second round.
Although turnout was low, the FN candidate’s huge lead has caused concern in the other political parties ahead of countrywide local elections in March.
Lopez polled 40.40 per cent of the votes, almost twice the 20.76 per cent polled by runner up Delzers.
A dissident far right candidate also polled 9.1 per cent, bringing the total share of far right votes to almost 50 per cent.
The result was a “very severe warning for the left”, said Socialist Party leader Harlem Désir, adding that “we are becoming alienated from the working class.”
The next round will take place on Sunday.
Around 16,000 people live in Brignoles, which is in the Provence hinterland. Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a home near the town.
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