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French regional elections see tight race

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:10

Voter turnout rises substantially in France for the second round of regional elections in a high-stakes ballot that will show whether the far-right National Front can turn its growing popularity into power. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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The French are casting their votes in runoffs for regional elections. Among them, former President Nicolas Sarkozy... whose conservatives were recently thought to be the landslide winners. But the far-right National Front achieved a breakthrough last week by taking the lead in the first round of the vote. Their leader, Marine Le Pen, cast her vote in northern France... but criticized what she called a campaign against her party. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LEADER OF NATIONAL FRONT PARTY, MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "I like democracy and I don't like to see voters be treated as children, be terrorized such as what several people have tried to do, the prime minister especially, in profoundly questionable conditions." Le Pen's party has drawn strength from fears over Europe's refugee crisis and the recent militant attacks in Paris. But the outcome is said to depend largely on what left-wing voters will do -- after the ruling Socialist party withdrew from the race in the two regions where the National Front was best placed. The Socialists also fear some of their supporters may not vote at all... rather than vote for the party of Sarkozy, who is widely despised by the left.

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French regional elections see tight race

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:10