(From AFP)

France’s far-right National Front (FN) saw record gains in the first round of regional polls, held under a state of emergency just three weeks after Islamic extremists killed 130 people in Paris.

Supporters of Marion Marechal Le Pen celebrate after the announcement of the results of the first round of the regional elections in France Sunday

Despite the strong result, FN faces an uphill battle to clinch a run-off vote next week after Socialists withdrew candidates in an attempt to block it from power.

The FN came first with around 28% of the vote nationwide and topped the list in at least six of 13 regions, according to final estimates from the interior ministry.

FN leader Marine Le Pen and her 25-year-old niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen broke the symbolic 40% mark in their respective regions, shattering previous records for the party as they tapped into voter anger over a stagnant economy and security fears linked to Europe’s refugee crisis.Read More

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