Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's party took a drubbing in Sunday's local elections, seen as a test ahead of next year's presidential vote, and the far-right National Front left its first footprint in France's smallest administrative districts.
The opposition Socialist Party was the big winner in the second round of balloting in the nation's cantons, with nearly 36 percent of the vote, according to the Interior Ministry, while Sarkozy's UMP party took 20 percent. The National Front had 11.7 percent — and won in at least two cantons, a first. It was competing in only 403 of the races for 1,566 seats.
The turnout was less than 46 percent — the lowest ever in a vote in cantons, said Interior Minister Claude Gueant. Results were not final.
For more: The Associated Press: Sarkozy's party takes drubbing in test elections