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The Editors

French Voters Want Action on the Economy

Government leaders should counter the far right with labor-market reforms.
Voters had second thoughts.

Voters had second thoughts.

Photographer: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

France's political elites may be tempted to simply breathe a sigh of relief and get back to business as usual, now that the National Front has failed in its bid to win control of any of France's regions. That would be a mistake.

Once a pariah in French politics, the NF did surprisingly well in the first round of voting a week ago, taking the lead in six of 13 regions amid low voter turnout. Voters turned out in much higher numbers on Sunday for round two. The government's defensive strategy -- withdrawing candidates in key regions and calling on voters to unite to defeat the NF -- seems to have worked.