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France goes to polls with National Front in ascendancy

Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 01:21

Voting begins in the first round of French local elections, as the anti-immigration National Front hopes to consolidate leader Marine Le Pen's bid for the presidency in 2017. Pavithra George reports.

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French voters went to the polls on Sunday to vote in local elections that could have national consequences. The Socialists party of French President Francois Hollande, seen here arriving to cast his vote, is expected to suffer a setback, losing out to the far-right National Front led by Marine Le Pen, a strong presidential contender in 2017. Le Pen's party has struck fear among France's political elite prompting Hollande and his rivals to tour the country with last-minute appeals to voters. Le Pen said her goal in the local elections was to show that her party had strong grassroots support. (SOUNDBITE) (French) NATIONAL FRONT LEADER MARINE LE PEN SAYING: "Once again, the goal is to demonstrate that the National Front is a great strength with local presence, and not only a force able to attract millions of French people in a national election." The election will decide the fate of local councilors who have limited powers in France's complex local administration and polls suggest voters are largely unexcited. Polls also say more than half of France's voters will not take part in the first round of voting in an election that could change the political landscape of France.

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France goes to polls with National Front in ascendancy

Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 01:21