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UMP fends off far-right in French by-election


France

UMP fends off far-right in French by-election

A candidate from France’s conservative UMP party has won a by-election, squeezing Socialist President Francois Holland’s parliamentary majority to just three seats.

Jean-Louis Costes took around 54 percent of the vote in a run-off against the National Front candidate Etienne Bousquet-Cassagne.

A recent surge in support for the far-right has caused alarm among mainstream party leaders including UMP party president, Jean-Francois Copé.

“This victory for the UMP once again expresses a clear rejection of Francois Hollande’s policies. It is his eighth consecutive by-election defeat Furthermore, the strong showing by the Front National is a serious warning.”

The vote followed the resignation of the country’s budget minister in a scandal which has seriously damaged the Socialist government.

Jerome Cahuzac was forced to quit as minister and deputy for Villeneuve-sur-Lot after lying about possessing a secret off-shore bank account.

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