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Sarkozy, Le Pen parties gain in election

Voters vented their anger at President Francois Hollande in local elections, benefiting former President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP and Marine Le Pen's National Front.

The UMP won control of 66 to 71 departments, compared with 27 to 35 for Hollande's Socialists, who previously had 61, according to projections by pollsters CSA and Ifop. The anti-immigrant, anti-euro National Front gained elected officials across the country, though it failed to take power in any one district, according to its own projections. Voters "have expressed their anger, their fatigue with life that is too difficult: unemployment, taxes, and a high cost of living," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said late Sunday in Paris.

The National Front, or FN as it's known, is seeking to convince the electorate it has transformed from a protest party tinged with racism and Holocaust denial to one that leader Le Pen says has a credible shot at the presidency in 2017. - Bloomberg