Watch: Making Headlines - news from French elections
France went to the polls Sunday in the first round of regional polls seen as a test of voters' mood ahead of next year's all-important presidential contest. Follow the election as it happened on our liveblog.
The conservative Les Républicains party surged to a first-round lead ahead of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) and parties of the centre and left.
President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling LREM party suffered setbacks in most regions, failing to reach the 10 percent threshold required to qualify for the runoff vote in the flashpoint Hauts-de-France region.
Le Pen’s National Rally fell short of expectations, though it still harbours hopes of winning the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, which includes Marseille, in next week's runoff.
In the Paris region, conservative incumbent Valérie Pécresse is well ahead, one of six candidates poised to qualify for the second round.
The elections, which followed a gruelling year and a half of lockdowns and curfews, were marred by record-low turnout of under 34%.
The second round of voting will take place on June 27.