The outcome of the French Regional election was known on the 13th of December and the three main forces composing the French political spectrum could actually see reasons for satisfaction and relief.
Les Républicains and their Centrist allies won a majority of regions (7 out of 13) among which the Paris Region that had been held by the socialists for 17 years.
The left wing coalition composed of the socialists, the ecologists and the communists limited the damage and kept 5 regions despite the terrible Government unpopularity.
The far-right party Front national (FN) did not eventually win any region but multiplied its number of regional advisors by three and became the only opposition to the right wing majority in the North and the South regions.
However, there was not anything these political groups could really be proud of. Les Républicains benefited from the support of the socialist candidates who decided to give up after the first round of the election to prevent the FN from winning. The left-wing coalition mainly won when it was opposed to two different parties in the second round. And again the French far-right party failed to gain any local establishment.
In a very difficult context with the terrorist attacks in Paris in November and the latest poor employment figures, the voters’ participation rate was particularly high compared to previous similar elections (58.5% in the second round of 2015, 43.4% in 2010). This participation rate actually increased by 10 points between the first and the second round of the election and it partly benefitted to the far-right.
The leaders of the mainstream parties stated that they heard the anger and the exasperation the French population expressed in the ballot and they committed to less talk and more action. Because of his liberal socialist economic policy, President Hollande might find it difficult to preserve the necessary coalition of the socialists, the communists and the ecologists before the next Presidential and general elections taking place in 2017. Nicolas Sarkozy still have to fight for the leadership of Les Républicains. The Front national became the most important political force in France despite a couple of representatives in the lower and the higher chambers of the Parliament and its leader Marine Le Pen is at least assured of reaching the second round of the 2017 presidential election.