French far-right defeated in regional vote

France held its second round of regional elections on Sunday (June 27) and Marie Le Pen’s far-right party again failed to win even a single region, according to exit polls.

An alliance of rival parties united to keep the far-right Rassemblement (National Rally) party out of a key stronghold in the south of France.

It’s a blow for Le Pen who was hoping to pave the way for next year's presidential election, and soften the image of her anti-immigration, Euro-skeptic party.

"Tonight, we are not going to take any region, because incumbents aided by alliances against the laws of nature have done everything to prevent us from showing to the French people our ability to lead a regional administration."

It was also a humiliating election night for President Emmanuel Macron, whose party also failed to win a single region.

The defeat shows how Macron's ruling centrist party has failed to establish itself at the local level.

Voter turnout was again very low.

Pollsters estimated that just 35% headed to the polls.

Reuters caught up with some residents in Paris.

"I didn't really feel affected, I didn't register since I am voting elsewhere and I didn't register to vote here."

"People are a bit lost, there is a lot going on. And we have to remember that we just came out from a long lockdown, so everyone has been a bit selfish and preferred to think of themselves rather than going out to vote."

The vote was won by the incumbent center-right or center-left candidate in each of France's 13 regions.

Conservative Xavier Bertrand cemented his status as the center-right's best chance of challenging Macron and Le Pen after a comfortable victory in the north.

He painted himself as the defender of the French who "can't make ends meet" and the strongest challenger against the far right.

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