According to polling firm Ifop, the far-right União Nacional (RN, for its original short) will top 20% of the vote nationwide, behind the dominant right, but also candidates from the “green” and left parties, with combined results.
Opinion polls also point to the defeat of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in southwestern France, the region that was seen as the best chance of securing a decisive victory in regional council elections, according to the Associated Press.
Confirming these results, the RN’s failure to win any of the 12 regions in mainland France threatens to slow the momentum of its leader, Marine Le Pen, in the 2022 presidential election campaign.
One candidate projected to be the winner of the traditional right, Xavier Bertrand, asserted that the National Union had not only “stopped” in his region, Hauts-de-France, in the north, but was also “retreating”.
Although they focused on local issues, and had a low turnout, the regional elections were seen as a test of whether the anti-immigration party gained traction ahead of the presidential election.
RN Le Pen has spent the past decade trying to shake off her reputation as an extremist, and the fact that no district was secured in this election shows that the party remains unattractive to many.
Opinion polls have indicated that Le Pen’s party will have some legitimate and ambitious motivation to win at least one region.
However, the low turnout in the first round, at just 33%, will also cause the FN supporters to be indifferent.
In only one region, in the Southeast, did the party take first place in the first round, candidates for the remaining regions were relegated to second place or below, and many gave up their hopes of winning in the second round.
In the second round, it may have been the same as in the other votes, with voters and parties uniting to keep Le Pen’s party out of power.
The RN also dominated the regional elections in 2015, but in the second round the intent changed after parties and voters united to defeat them.