Sarkozy's Party Creamed by Left in French Vote
Socialist Party comes out ahead in French regional elections
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2010 4:00 AM CDT
Martine Aubry, head of France's Socialist Party, gestures while speaking to the media at the party's headquarters in Paris yesterday.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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(Newser) – Dissatisfied French voters dealt Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right ruling party a major blow in regional elections yesterday. Amid record-low turnout, Socialist and other leftist candidates dominated the first round of votes for France's 26 regional governments, AP reports. The far-right National Front also had its strongest showing in years.

Sarkozy dismissed his party's battering as "regional voting, regional consequences," although the increasingly unpopular leader has already signaled that he plans to slow down the pace of his reforms, the New York Times notes. Socialist leader Martine Aubry urged leftist voters to show their strength again in the next round of voting and "give a win to hope" that Sarkozy can be turned out in France's 2012 federal election.