French voters head to polls in local elections

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French voters head to polls in local elections

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Voters in Paris and across France are going to the polls on Sunday in the second round of local elections.

They are being seen as a referendum on President Francois Hollande’s first two years in office and his ruling Socialist party – which is deeply unpopular – is preparing itself for losses.

Last week’s first round saw the lowest ever turnout in French municipal elections.

The far-right National Front made significant gains including winning one mayor seat outright. It is expected to win a number of towns in the second round.

The opposition centre-right UMP- the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy – could take also back control of around 100 city halls.

One voter in Paris said: “A lot of people are fed up, they don’t know where to look because there are a lot of unfulfilled promises. And there is also a lot of confusion, people mix up local elections and other elections.”

Another agreed, saying: “It should remain about local issues, but it will be a chance to find out what a lot of people think about politics.”

A government reshuffle is likely in the next few days and one victim could be Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. An interactive poll last week showed around 80 percent of people wanted him dismissed. His popularity has sunk because of France’s poor economic showing.