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02 February 2015

Pro-White National Front wins first round of French by-election

France’s pro-White National Front on Sunday won the first round of legislative by-elections in the eastern Doubs department, in a special poll to replace Socialist MP Pierre Moscovici, named European commissioner for economics in September.

The National Front (FN) candidate Sophie Montel won 32.6% of the vote, and will face Socialist Party candidate Frédéric Barbier, who took 28.85% of ballots, in a February 8 runoff.

Montel, 45, who won a seat at the European Parliament in elections last year, said she was “very satisfied” with the results, saying it confirmed the FN was becoming an established party in the region.

A second victory in Doubs next Sunday would give the FN three seats in France’s National Assembly.

“This is a slap in the face for the UMP,” the FN said in a statement referring to former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement party, who came in third in the ballot.

“It is also a failure for the Socialist Party, which won 12 fewer points than with Pierre Moscovici in 2012,” the FN added.

Barbier, the Socialist candidate, called on voters of all political stripes to rally behind him in a show of “national unity”, akin to that on display following January's terrorist attacks in Paris, to defeat the pro-White party in the second round of the poll.

High 60.4% abstention for Sunday’s ballot was seen as hurting the UMP candidate, Charles Demouge, who claimed 26.54% support.

The UMP was left stinging from the by-election defeat, viewed by many as a bellwether for regional elections in March.

Demouge’s campaign said it would announce on Tuesday which candidate it was backing in the second round. He has suggested that he would throw his support behind the Socialist candidate in a bid to block the FN.