TACTICAL voting on a massive scale prevented the far-right Front National (FN) party from converting its historic first-round scoring in last week’s local elections into concrete power.
Exit polls for second round voting on December 13 showed that the FN will fail to win control of any regions, despite suggestions last week that they could seize half-a-dozen out of eighteen.
Many left-wingers held their noses and voted for Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing Les Républicains party, whilst left-wing parties still performed better than expected due to an increased turn-out.
The nationalist, anti-immigration party, which has undergone an image transformation under the new leadership of Marine Le Pen, still managed to add hundreds of new regional councillors to its ranks. Winning a record number of votes in the final round, with at least 6.6 million counted, the controversial movement has put itself in a prime position ahead of presidential elections in 2017.
Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls warned “The danger of the far right has not been removed – far from it – and I won’t forget the results of the first round and of past elections.”
“We have to give people back the desire to vote for and not just against” he continued, conceding the negative nature of tactical voting.
Addressing her supporters, Le Pen claimed that the government had “intimated and infantilised” the electorate by embracing its apparent rivals to prevent a natural result for the FN.