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.