Front National did not win any regions in the French regional elections after the second round took place on the 13th of December whereas one week before they were the first party after the opening round. Socialists and Republicans (right-wing) defeated the extreme party.
As the Front National is a eurosceptic party, its rise in one of the founding countries of the European Union threatens the future of Europe. As Henry Samuel said in The Telegraph in March, Marine Le Pen is very keen to ally with Nigel Farrage’s Ukip in the UK that shares her point on major topics. Her party is now not only a French national issue.
The way Socialists (governmental party) and Republicans (opposition) always defeat the Front National is called the Republican Front. It means that the third party, Socialist Party or Republicans is calling to vote for the second party to make sure the Front National cannot win. At local elections, it means that this party renounces to have representatives at councils whereas it was sure to have some if present at the second round.
The Republican Front is now questioned. Republicans stopped using the Republican Front since the President and government are Socialists. They want to prove that they are still the first party of opposition and that is not the Front National. For that reason, they refuse any alliance with Socialists.
If officially Socialists still always give the instruction to respect the Republican Front, some contradictory voices raise inside the party. For example, in the Great East region, the socialist candidate Jean-Pierre Masseret refused to give up the elections to make the Republican candidate win.
The Republican Front worked efficiently in the two regions where the Front National got the highest scores at the opening round: Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie (North) and PACA (South-East). Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion Marechal Le Pen lost against Republicans while most of the polls (except during the very few days before the second round) expected them to win.
Theo, a young voter in PACA, gave his voice to the Republican candidate and considers the Republican Front the best option since “getting united against [the Front National] is important”. Every body, even not Front National opponents, does however not share his opinion. Mathieu, a voter in the North, voted for the Republican candidate because he did not want the Front National to win. He however considers it is “despising for [Front National’s] militants and voters” and a way of “sneaking off”.
As the next elections in France will be the presidential elections, politics are aware that “the danger represented by the extreme-right is still here” as Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated on France 2. The Republican Front is now weakened and it is not sure that it will remain efficient for long. For Anne-Laure who lives and votes in PACA, the Republican Front is a “exceptional measure for an exceptional situation” but will not be enough if politics do not offer “better alternatives”.