France's Sarkozy suffers local polls setback

March 20, 2011 21:36

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives lost ground to the left-wing opposition and the far-right in the first round of nationwide local elections on Sunday, according to initial estimates.

The decisive second round of the departmental elections for some 2,000 local councilors will be held on March 27.

Projections broadcast by LCI television based on partial results, showed the Socialist-led left-wing opposition winning about 25 percent of the vote, with Sarkozy's center-right UMP party set to take 16% and the far-right National Front around 14%.

It was the last popular vote before next year's presidential election, in which Sarkozy is expected to seek a second five-year term.

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