France’s centre-right UMP and its allies have taken first place in the first round of local elections, partial results suggest.
They pushed the far-right National Front into second, with President Francois Hollande’s ruling Socialists falling back into third.
Voters are electing representatives in 101 departments, or counties, charged with issues like schools and welfare.
A second round of voting will take place in a week’s time.
Mr Hollande’s third place in the partial results follow on from defeats for the Socialists in municipal and EU elections last year.