France’s far-right have endured another miserable night in the country’s regional elections, with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally failing to win any of the dozen mainland areas where it stood.
Following a spate of disappointing results at the polls earlier this month, its candidates were once again largely rejected as other voters appeared to come together to prevent a breakthrough.
Ms Le Pen, who lost the 2017 presidential election to Emmanuel Macron, conceded that her party – which was previously known as National Front – had fallen short across all of mainland France‘s 12 regions.
Mr Macron’s ruling Republique en Marche party, which did not exist at the time of the last regional vote in 2015, also failed to secure a single region of its own – a humiliating set of results for the country’s leader.
The Ifop polling agency estimated that National Rally took just over 20% of the vote nationally – trailing both the mainstream right and the combined weight of green and leftist candidates.
Most disappointingly for Ms Le Pen, her party was roundly beaten in the southeast of France – an area which had been tipped as its best chance of securing gains in the balloting for regional councils.
None of the regions up for grabs ended up changing hands, exit polls have suggested, with the mainstream right hanging on to its seven and the left keeping the other five.
Northern French conservative Xavier Bertrand, who’s hoping to take on Mr Macron in the 2022 presidential election, remarked that National Rally had been “stopped” in his Hauts-de-France region.
“We made it retreat greatly,” he added.
The regional elections had been viewed by pundits as a litmus test for whether Ms Le Pen’s anti-immigration party enjoyed much acceptability ahead of next year’s presidential poll.
Results suggest that Ms Le Pen’s hostile views on migrants and the European Union are unpalatable to many, however some analysis have cautioned against extrapolating the local results on to the 2022 contest.
It should also be noted that turnout on Sunday was tepid – standing at less than 30% by late afternoon. That’s even lower than what was a record-low 33% in the first round of voting on 20 June.