France's Le Pen says far-right rise unstoppable despite defeat
The far-right's rise in France is unstoppable, National Front leader Marine Le Pen told supporters after exit polls showed her party won no region in election run-offs, suffering a major disappointment after topping the votes in the first round.
The anti-immigration, anti-Europe party failed to transform its first round breakthrough into second round wins after the Socialists pulled out of the race in key regions and urged supporters to back the conservatives.
Le Pen said the result would not discourage the "inexorable rise, election after election, of a national movement" behind her party. She hailed the "total eradication" of the Socialist Party representation in the southeast and the northern regions that the tactical vote produced.
Le Pen, who lost to conservative candidate Xavier Bertrand in northern France despite largely leading in the first round, lashed out against "defamation decided in gilded palaces." She said those who voted for her had resisted "intimidation, infantilisation and manipulations."