The spring elections have begun:
(Reuters) – France’s anti-immigrant National Front (FN) scored gains in first-round town hall elections on Sunday and took control of a former Socialist bastion as voters punished President Francois Hollande and his left-wing allies.
The elections in thousands of constituencies across France were the first nationwide voter test for Hollande, who came to power in May 2012 and has seen his popularity slump to record lows for failing to rein in unemployment.
A second round of voting is due next Sunday but FN leader Marine Le Pen, who has softened the party’s image since taking over from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011, said advances made in the first round already marked a major breakthrough.
“The National Front has arrived as a major independent force – a political force both at the national and local level,” Le Pen, who scored 18 percent in the 2012 presidential election, told TF1 television.
The Reconquest begins.