Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National failed to break through, but the biggest loser in regional elections was Emmanuel Macron
Wherever you look, it is said, nationalism in Europe is rising. In Spain and Italy, the far right is making gains. On Monday the nationalist Sweden Democrats plunged the country into a political crisis by driving through a no-confidence vote in the centre-left prime minister. Yet the first round results of regional elections on Sunday in France, a major test of public opinion before presidential polls next year, dashed Marine Le Pen’s hopes of turning the vote into a launchpad for her run at the top job.
Ms Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National did much worse than expected. Her party managed only a fifth of the vote nationally and topped the list in only one region, rather than the expected six. Unfortunately, Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche – her probable opponent in next year’s race to the Elysée Palace – did even worse, with only 11% of the national vote. The winners were the traditional parties, especially the centre-right Les Républicains – which won 27% of the national vote.