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PARIS – The candidate for the right-wing extremist National Rally of Marine Le Pen lost in the southern French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in the local elections on Sunday, according to polls against the center-right.
OpinionWay and Ifop polls show that Thierry Mariani received around 43 percent of the vote for the National Rally, compared to 57 percent for incumbent Regional President Renaud Muselier for Les Républicains.
Losing would be a huge disappointment for Le Pen, who had hoped to win at least one region in Sunday’s local elections in order to raise their 2022 presidential nomination. The far-right leader is preparing for her third attempt to conquer the Elysée and polls show she and Emmanuel Macron will be head to head in April’s vote.
With the regional elections viewed as key indicators of national sentiment, the conservative Les Républicains have made a significant comeback, with several potential Macron rivals performing well.
In the Hauts-de-France region, ex-minister Xavier Bertrand received 52 percent or 53 percent of the vote, compared to 25 percent or 26 percent for the candidate for the National Rally, according to exit polls.
Bertrand’s center-right party hopes to use the successes in these elections to present itself as the main opposition force against Macron. While the party has not yet confirmed its presidential candidate, Bertrand insists that he will run.
Several candidates for Macron’s La République En Marche (LREM) were eliminated in the first ballot on June 20, when the party received only 11 percent of the vote at the national level.
Speaking on BFMTV on Sunday, LREM chairman Stanislas Guerini said the results were “a disappointment” but the party played a role in defeating the National Rally.
Exit polls showed that many incumbent mainstream presidents appear on the left and right on the best way to keep their seats.
More survey data from across Europe can be found at POLITICS Poll by polls.