Daily US Times: Early results indicate both French President Emmanuel Macron and his opponent far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen will fail to make the gains they were hoping for in the first round of regional elections in the country.
Exit polls show the French president’s centrist party is at risk of falling short of the 10% needed to take part in the second round next weekend.
Aurore Bergé, one of his MPs, said it was a “slap in the face”.
Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party looks set to come second.
Her party was expected to top Sunday’s first round of voting, and win at least one region for the first time. She is not running as a candidate but she has been leading the campaign.
Mrs Le Pen described the record-low voter turnout – a projected 66% abstention – as a “civic disaster”.
She blamed the low voter turnout on the government’s inability to inspire faith in political institutions.
She said: “Let’s face it, the results were marked by a torrential and also historic abstention of nearly 70% due to the mistrust of an electoral system, which leaves voters with the feeling that nothing can change, that everything has been confiscated.”
Voters are choosing new councils for the country’s 13 mainland regions, plus one overseas, as well as 96 departments. More than 15,700 candidates standing for 4,100 seats in this election.
This regional election is very important and is being watched particularly closely, because the next presidential elections are less than a year away. The election being used to get a taste of voters’ mood and which shows Macron is not in good position.