France’s regional elections made volatile by Paris attacks

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Next Sunday France goes to the polls to elect the members of the councils ruling the country’s new administrative regions, and which will be an important test of the popularity of the far-right Front National party tipped to draw strongly increased support. The two-round elections for the 13 new super-regions, created in a reform earlier this year from 22 previous regions, are overshadowed by the immense shock felt across France after the terrorist massacres in Paris last month. Mathieu Magnaudeix travelled before and after the attacks to the new Aquitaine-Poitou-Charentes-Limousin region in south-west France where, bucking the trend, the Socialist Party was confident of victory. On his return visit last weekend, he found that optimism had completely disappeared in the aftermath of the attacks.

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Xavier (last name withheld) runs an oyster farm in this part of south-west France where the river Gironde, running west from Bordeaux, spills out into the Atlantic Ocean. Oyster rearing is a centuries-old activity in and around Nieulle-sur-Seudre, where Mediapart bumped into him last weekend.