French Senate swings to the Right as Front National win two seats

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For the last three years France's upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, has been under the political control of the Left, a rarity in the history of the Fifth Republic. On Sunday that brief interlude ended when, as expected, the Right regained control of the chamber during partial elections, with the centre-right faring especially well. And for the first time the far-right Front National gained entry to the Senate, picking up two seats. Meanwhile the ruling Socialist Party took comfort from the fact that a number of its candidates fared better than expected, though there were some symbolic defeats for key allies of President François Hollande. Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses the significance of the weekend's elections.

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In the history of the Fifth Republic, the Left has rarely had control of the Senate and on Sunday it handed control back to the Right after having held sway in France's upper chamber of parliament for just three years. The weekend's partial elections for the Senate saw a particularly strong performance from the centrist Union des démocrates et indépendants (UDI) party who will form an alliance with the main right-wing opposition party, the UMP.