World

France likely to see conservative win, far-right breakthrough, Socialist defeat in local vote

  • French far-right National Front Party leader, Marine Le Pen, exits from a polling booth after voting in the second round of local elections, Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Henin-Beaumont, northern France. French voters are choosing members of local councils in runoff elections Sunday seen as a test for the far right National Front, which is expanding its presence in French politics. The mainstream conservative UMP party came out ahead in the first round, ahead of the National Front and the governing Socialists. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

    French far-right National Front Party leader, Marine Le Pen, exits from a polling booth after voting in the second round of local elections, Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Henin-Beaumont, northern France. French voters are choosing members of local councils in runoff elections Sunday seen as a test for the far right National Front, which is expanding its presence in French politics. The mainstream conservative UMP party came out ahead in the first round, ahead of the National Front and the governing Socialists. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former French President and conservative party UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy gives a speech following the final round of French local elections, in Paris, France, Sunday, March 29, 2015. French voters are choosing members of local councils in run off elections Sunday seen as a test for the far right National Front, which is expanding its presence in French politics. The mainstream conservative UMP party came out ahead in the first round, ahead of the National Front and the governing Socialists. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    Former French President and conservative party UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy gives a speech following the final round of French local elections, in Paris, France, Sunday, March 29, 2015. French voters are choosing members of local councils in run off elections Sunday seen as a test for the far right National Front, which is expanding its presence in French politics. The mainstream conservative UMP party came out ahead in the first round, ahead of the National Front and the governing Socialists. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

  • Councilors strip ballot papers during the second round of local elections, Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Saint Pierre d'Irube, southwestern France. For president of Front National Marie Le Pen, today's election for more than 2,000 local councils is an important step in building a grassroots base critical to her ultimate goal: the 2017 presidency. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

    Councilors strip ballot papers during the second round of local elections, Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Saint Pierre d'Irube, southwestern France. For president of Front National Marie Le Pen, today's election for more than 2,000 local councils is an important step in building a grassroots base critical to her ultimate goal: the 2017 presidency. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)  (The Associated Press)

The conservative party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to dominate the final round of France's local elections, give the far-right National Front another electoral breakthrough and deal a new blow to the governing Socialists.

Voters casting ballots Sunday are choosing 4,108 local council members across the country who will make up 98 councils. For France's leading parties, the stakes are high.

Sarkozy and Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls have been working the campaign trail — catching up to the most visible campaigner, far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Her anti-immigration National Front placed second in last week's first round with 25 percent of the vote, behind the conservatives.

Valls has called on Socialists to vote for conservatives to block the National Front, which looks toward the 2017 presidential race.