French far-right National Front party leads first round of local elections

Ben Sales

(JTA) — The far-right National Front political party led the first round of local elections in France.

The achievement for the anti-immigrant party Sunday comes shortly after last month’s Islamic State terror attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

National Front won 28 percent of the vote nationally, topping the center-right Republicans, who won 27 percent. The left-wing Socialists, President Francois Hollande’s party, came in third with 23.5 percent, according to France 24.

National Front received the most votes in six of France’s 13 regions, but now faces a tougher run-off vote. The Socialists have announced that they will withdraw some candidates from the race in order to consolidate opposition to National Front.

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“This is a great result that we welcome with humility, seriousness and a deep sense of responsibility”, said National Front leader Marine Le Pen, according to France 24. “We are without question the first party of France.”

According to Haaretz, the result is the strongest electoral achievement for a far-right party since World War II. Le Pen’s father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a history of anti-Semitism, though his daughter has distanced herself and the party from him and his record.

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