In the north of France, in the Calais region, the extremes of the political spectrum clashed – Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the so-called Left Front and Marine Le Pen of the anti-immigration National Front.
Both leaders, who scored highly in last month’s presidential homed in on the area that has been hit particularly strongly by economic hardship in France.
Le Pen romped through to the second round.
“The ‘Blue Marines’ have stood up remarkably well, considering the number who stayed at home and a deeply undemocratic electoral system that has deprived millions of voters their MPs for 25 years. We have now confirmed our position as the third force in French politics,” she said.
The rabble-rousing orator of the far-left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, lost his bet in the constituency of Henin-Beaumont failing to make the second round, and urging his supporters to back the second-placed socialist candidate.
“It’s natural that we’re disappointed because we dreamed of marching in front, carrying the colours of the republic,” a dejected Mélenchon told supporters. “But we must not allow ourselves to be downtrodden in any way. The big wheel of history is turning. We are going to be faced with huge events, and the qualities that always win are the qualities of heart and spirit in those who know exactly where they are going and why they are going there.”