French local elections second round: results and reactions

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French voters have inflicted a major defeat on the ruling Socialist Party and its allies in Sunday's local elections. The Left lost control of 25 of the départements or counties that it held before the election, leaving it in the majority in just 34. In contrast, the alliance between the right-wing UMP - headed by Nicolas Sarkozy - and the centrists UDI is now in control of  66 département councils in a dramatic shift of power in French local politics. The far-right Front National, meanwhile, failed in its bid to win control in a council for the first time in its history though it did see around 60 councillors elected. The outcome is widely seen as a major slap in the face delivered by voters to President François Hollande's government. The Right won power both in the president's political stronghold and that of the prime minister Manuel Valls. Conceding the serious setback for the socialists, Valls also highlighted the performance of Marine Le Pen's party as a “defeat for all Republicans”. But he has vowed to stay on as head of government and - to the dismay of some on the Left - made clear that its current policies would continue.

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France's ruling Socialist Party (PS) suffered a resounding defeat in Sunday's départemental or county elections. According to the official results the socialists and their allies lost control of 25 département councils they currently control. This means the PS will remain in control of just 34 of the councils, with the UMP-UDI right-centre alliance now in charge of between 66 councils. It represents a crushing victory for the Right and centre.