Regional election poses crucial test for French far right

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PARIS (AP) — France’s decisive, second round of voting in regional elections is being scrutinized as a litmus test of whether the anti-immigration far right is gaining acceptability before the French presidential election next year. Failure to win control of a region for the first time would mark a stinging setback for the rebranded National Rally of Marine Le Pen. She has spent a decade trying to cast off the party’s extremist, racist reputation. A record-low turnout of 33% in the first round on June 20 proved particularly damaging for the National Rally and Le Pen’s hopes of securing a regional breakthrough to bolster her 2022 presidential campaign. The party only finished in the lead in one of France’s 12 regions.

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