France's conservative Union for a Popular Movement dominated local elections Sunday, blunting the rise of Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front.
Initial projections gave the UMP 31% of the vote in elections for 2,000 local councils, compared with 24.5% for the National Front and 19.7% for the governing Socialists and their allies.
The Socialists, who had never expected to do well in the first-round elections, had urged people to turn out and vote to prevent a far-right victory, even if that boosted the chances of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives. Turnout was 51%, up from about 45% in the same elections in 2011.
With little of the despair of a man whose...