France's TV exit polls show a win for ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives, as far-right leader Marine Le Pen cheers her party's ''record results''. Vanessa Johnston reports.
TV exit polls in France show a win for conservatives in round two of local elections. The UMP party -- led by ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy -- and its allies will take an estimated 66-70 departments, up from 41. While President Francois Hollande's Socialists are poised to lose half their councils. And while the far-right National Front couldn't match the numbers of the mainstream parties, leader Marine Le Pen cheered its considerable gains. (SOUNDBITE) (French) NATIONAL FRONT LEADER, MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "The verdict of the ballot box today is undeniable. The Socialist Party has taken a pounding, has been wiped from the map in a large number of departments, while the National Front...has scored record results pretty much everywhere." Polls say Le Pen's anti-immigrant, anti-EU National Front will win two departments -- up from zero -- And is certain to see a big jump in the number of locally-elected officials, a key to competing on the national stage, as all three parties look ahead to the 2017 presidential election.