When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

blog

French Far Right Leader Marine Le Pen: 'Getting Closer'

[rebelmouse-image 27089710 alt="""" original_size="750x932" expand=1]

Libération, Dec. 7, 2015

"It's getting closer," warns French leftist daily Libérationon its front page Monday, alongside a blurry picture of France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen, one day after her far-right party topped the vote in the first round of the country's regional elections.

France's National Front became the country's "first party," obtaining close to 30% in a historic win Sunday that came just three weeks after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. Le Pen herself is poised to take power in a key northern region, which Libération notes could pave the way for her to become a front-runner in France's presidential elections in 2017.

The nationalist party came first in six of France's 13 regions, with party leader Marine Le Pen getting 40.6% of the vote in the north, and a similar score for her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, in the southeast, Le Figaro reports.

A coalition of center-right parties, led by Nicolas Sarkozy's Les Républicains came second nationwide with 27%, a "slap in the face" for the ex-president, according to Le Monde. The ruling Socialist party (which also holds a majority of regions) ended third with 23%, in an election that saw a low turnout of just 51%.

Under French regional election rules, all candidates with more than 10% are eligible for next Sunday's second round. Almost every region saw candidates from the three main parties qualify for the runoff. But Socialist candidates who came in third place in the north and southeast have retreated from the race, following party instructions, in a bid to "block" the National Front from winning the runoff. At least one candidate, in the eastern region, has refused to do so.

Nicolas Sarkozy, eager to distance himself both from the Socialists and the National Front, ruled out such a move for his party's candidates who came third, sparking divisions inside his own ranks, according to Le Parisien.

Read a recent Marine Le Pen interview with Le TempsHERE

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Decisive Spring? How Ukraine Plans To Beat Back Putin's Coming Offensive

The next months will be decisive in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. From the forests of Polesia to Chernihiv and the Black Sea, Ukraine is looking to protect the areas that may soon be the theater of Moscow's announced offensive. Will this be the last Russian Spring?

Photo of three ​Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Anna Akage

Ukrainian forces are digging new fortifications and preparing battle plans along the entire frontline as spring, and a probable new Russian advance, nears.

But this may be the last spring for occupying Russian forces.

"Spring and early summer will be decisive in the war. If the great Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the downfall of Russia and Putin," said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Skinitysky added that Ukraine believes Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring or early summer. The Institute for the Study of War thinks that such an offensive is more likely to come from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk than from Belarus, as some have feared.

Still, the possibility of an attack by Belarus should not be dismissed entirely — all the more so because, in recent weeks, a flurry of MiG fighter jet activity in Belarusian airspace has prompted a number of air raid alarms throughout Ukraine.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest