How the far-right handed Sarkozy his dismissal notice

By and

Among all the political casualties of the first round of France’s regional elections last weekend, when the far-right Front National party achieved a landslide share of votes cast, none was left in poorer shape than Nicolas Sarkozy, leader of the recently-renamed conservative opposition party, Les Républicains.  The success of the Front National, and the retreat of support for the conservatives, is widely forecast to be sealed in next Sunday’s final round of voting. Mediapart editor François Bonnet and political correspondent Ellen Salvi analyse why the former president, since his return to active politics 18 months ago, has failed to reconstruct the mainstream Right, and how, by perpetually mimicking the far-right, he has handed them victory.  

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The elections for control of the councils of France’s 13 new ‘super’ regions are the first since they were created, in a reform finalised earlier this year, from the previous 22. Since the last regional elections in 2010, 21 had until now been in the hands of the Socialist Party.