“Harsh warning for Nicolas Sarkozy’s party,” headlinesLa Tribune, in the wake of the UMP’s poor performance in the first round of French cantonal elections, which saw votes cast in half of the country’s administrative regions. The Socialist Party topped the poll at 25%, however media attention is mainly focused on the upsurge in support for the Front National. The far right party led by Marine Le Pen finished only just behind the UMP with a score of 15%. “Marine’s blue wave sweeps across France,” remarks the business daily, which also notes that the turnout of just 45% “was the lowest ever recorded for cantonal elections.” In the event of a duel between the left and the Front National in the second round of elections scheduled for 27 March, the UMP has no plans to issue instructions to its supporters to vote for a “united republican front” against the extreme right.