Sunday’s voting for leadership councils in the regions was widely seen as a national sounding following the November 13 Paris attacks that left 130 dead and the influx of migrants to Europe.
Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Front chalked up scores that reached 40% of the vote in several regions, including in the north-east where Le Pen is running, and in the south-east where her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen leads the list of candidates.
Marine Le Pen’s region includes Calais, where thousands of migrants live in makeshift camps in the hopes of reaching Britain.
The National Front scored 49% there.
The governing Socialists, trailing in third place, announced that candidates in those two regions would withdraw from the December 13 final round so its voters could help the rival conservative right — and prevent far-right victories.
“It’s the future of France that is at stake,” party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said. Le Pen was joyous.
“I believe the incredible results of the National Front amounts to the revolt of the people against the elite,” Le Pen said yesterday on RTL radio.
In a similar message, she told BFM television that “the French people have had enough of being treated like a herd of sheep”.