National Front's Le Pen Duo Face Defeat In French Elections

Marine Le Pen (C), France's National Front political party leader, and French National Front party deputy Marion Marechal-Le Pen (L) attend the far-right party's congress in Lyon November 29, 2014. Robert Pratta/Reuters

Despite scoring a clear and historic victory in the first round of France's regional elections, Marine Le Pen's National Front party is set for defeat in the two regions contested by its strongest candidates in round 2, Le Figaro reports.

Le Pen's far-right party won more votes than any other in last Sunday's regional elections with 28 percent of the vote. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's Republican party came second with 27 percent.

Le Pen and her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen came out on top in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie regions, but both are now set to lose their regions as voters on the left and center-right appear to be uniting against them.

A new poll by TNS-Sofres published in Le Figaro showed that the two Republican candidates Christian Estrosi and Xavier Bertrand will leapfrog the National Front in the second round of voting on Sunday. The sudden shift in the National Front's fortunes came after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Socialist candidates in both those regions to step down and told Socialist voters to cast their ballots for the Republicans, in a tactical move against National Front.

The poll surveyed over 1,600 voters in the two regions where National Front's Marine and Marion Maréchal-Le Pen are running.

Both have grown infamous for perceived anti-Muslim comments, as Marine Le Pen was called to court in October for comparing Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation while her niece was asked to explain her comments earlier this month that Muslim French citizens did not have the same "rank" as Catholic ones.

According to the survey, published on Wednesday, Christian Estrosi will beat Marion Maréchal-Le Pen with 54 percent of the vote versus 46 percent while Xavier Bertrand is expected to get 53 percent against Marine Le Pen's 47 percent.

Of those who voted for the Socialists or another left-wing party in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 77% said they would vote for Xavier Bertrand in the second round, while only 9 percent would vote for Marine Le Pen. 14 percent said they would not vote at all.

In a virtually identical result, 77% of voters on the left in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur said they would vote for Estrosi in the second round, while only 9 percent would vote for Marine Le Pen's niece.

The poll also showed that 3 percent of Republican voters in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur have shifted their allegiance to the National Front and, even more surprisingly, 3 percent of National Front voters in the region have decided to cast their ballots for Republican Bertrand.

When asked about the Socialist Party's decision to withdraw some candidates to try to weight the election in the Republicans' favor, 42 percent of respondents in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region said they approve, as did 60 percent in the Alpine region.