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French voters head to polls in local elections

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French voters head to polls in local elections


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.

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