World Bulletin / News Desk
The UMP conservative central right party of France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy and its allies are leading the first round of local elections, revealed polls late Sunday, followed by left bloc and Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front (FN).
A French TV poll said that the right block, under the leadership of Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement party, has secured 37,5 percent of votes followed by the left bloc that scored 34,7 percent and the National Front with 26.4 percent.
After the preliminary results were revealed, Sarkozy ruled out any alliances between his party and the FN in the second round, saying the far-right party " will only make them worse."
"To those who voted National Front, we understand your frustrations. But this party will not solve France’s problems, it will only make them worse," he said.
The ruling socialist party was left behind with just 21.4 percent of the votes. However, Socialist Prime minister Manuel Valls described the results as "honorable," expressing his relief that the National Front didn't lead the electoral race.
Valls called on voters from different parties to "block the far-right’s path” by voting against an FN candidate in round two."
Le Pen for her part called on Valls to resign, saying that her party's advance shows it's getting stronger.
"This massive vote for the FN, which has become deeper rooted election after election, shows that the French want to regain their freedom," claimed Le Pen.
Earlier in the evening, the Interior Ministry's count estimated that the UMP and its conservative allies had taken 170 seats out of the total 2054 local voting districts and the left parties has secured 44 seats and six for the FN.
The results are a setback for Le Pen's National Front that was eying a leading triumph.
Recent surveys showed that the National Front Party will come in first place, with the Popular Movement Group Party ranked second and the ruling Socialist Party third.
The voters’ turnout was around 51 percent, higher than last year's historic level of abstention that reached 53 percent.
The second round is due on March 29.Last Mod: 23 Mart 2015, 10:47