PARIS — The far right National Front won a decisive victory in a local election in southeast France on Sunday, underlining how the party’s tough talk on crime and illegal immigration is resonating with voters and dealing a blow to President François Hollande’s governing Socialist Party.
According to the final results, the National Front candidate, Laurent Lopez, won 53.9 percent of the vote in Brignoles, a town near the Mediterranean port of Toulon, compared with 46.1 percent for Catherine Delzers, the candidate of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP.
The Socialists backed a Communist ally who failed to make it to the runoff. Even an eventual plea to leftist voters to support the UMP failed to fend off a National Front victory.
Analysts said the vote, while in a relatively minor election, nevertheless represented a slap to Hollande and showed the potential for the National Front, rather than the UMP, to benefit from a simmering backlash against the government’s immigration and economic policies.
Municipal elections in France are to be held in March, followed by European Parliament elections in May.
New York Times