French far-right fails at regional election run-off
Marine Le Pen had hoped to use regional power as a springboard to boost her chances in 2017 presidential elections
Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front did not win any region in French elections on Sunday, in a setback to her hopes of being a serious presidential contender in 2017.
The regional election run-off, in which the conservatives won seven constituencies and the Socialists five, was no real victory for either of these two mainstream parties, shaken by the far-right's growing appeal to disillusioned voters.
Boosted by fears about security and immigration after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris a month ago that killed 130 people, the National Front (FN) had won more votes than any other party nationally in last week's first round.
Although it won no region on Sunday after the Socialists pulled out of its key target regions and urged their supporters to back the conservatives of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the FN still recorded its best showing in its history.
"Tonight, there is no place for relief or triumphalism," Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. "The danger posed by the far right has not gone away; far from it."
Le Pen, who had hoped to use regional power as a springboard to boost her chances in 2017 presidential elections, lost by a huge margin in northern France on Sunday, where she led her party's ticket, attracting 42.8 percent of the votes in the run-off vs 57.2 percent for the conservatives.