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French far right looks for gains in regional polls

French far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen tucks into a sandwich on a visit to a farm in the northwestern French town of Juilley on March 20, 2015France’s National Front, one of the most powerful populist far right parties in Europe, eyed significant gains against President Francois Hollande’s ruling socialists in regional elections Sunday. For the National Front, Sunday was a chance to punish the Socialists and get up a head of steam for presidential elections in 2017 that some analysts believe could see the party’s leader Marine Le Pen oust the unpopular Hollande. “We’ll get stuck into the regions and then we’re off to invade the Elysee (presidential palace),” Le Pen declared this week. The FN, as Le Pen’s party is known in French, has capitalised on anger over France’s lacklustre economy, as well as the politically explosive issues of immigration and the integration of Islam into French society.

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