(JTA) — The far-right National Front party won the first round of local elections in France.
Less than a month after the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris that killed 130, the anti-immigrant National Front garnered 28 percent of the vote nationally on Sunday, edging the center-right Republicans at 27 percent, according to France 24. The left-wing Socialists of President Francois Hollande finished third with 23.5 percent.
National Front received the most votes in six of France’s 13 regions, but now faces a tougher runoff vote on Sunday. The Socialists have announced that they will withdraw some candidates from the race in order to consolidate opposition to National Front.
“This is a great result that we welcome with humility, seriousness and a deep sense of responsibility,” said National Front leader Marine Le Pen, according to France 24. “We are without question the first party of France.”
According to Haaretz, the result is the strongest electoral achievement for a far-right European party since World War II. Le Pen’s father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a history of anti-Semitism, though his daughter has distanced herself and the party from him and his record.
Following publication of the results, CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jewry, called on French Jews to vote against National Front in the runoff, according to i24 News.
“On this coming Sunday, go out and vote by the masses to block the National Front, a xenophobic and populist party,” the CRIF statement read. “Do not allow the Republic to fall.”