Marine Le Pen. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
The first round of France’s parliamentary polls on Sunday provided another good election night for the Le Pen family.
Not only did Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right National Front, win an impressive 42 per cent of the vote to take a clear lead in the race to capture the Henin-Beaumont constituency in the north of the country: down south in the Vaucluse department, her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen also took the lead in her seat, outscoring Jean-Michel Ferrand, the incumbent centre-right UMP deputy, and the socialist candidate, with 35 per cent of the vote. Read more
Welcome to our rolling coverage of the day’s developments in the eurozone.
Today the live blog comes from Paris, as France digests a surge of far right support in the presidential election, but we’ll also be updating you on news from around Europe. All times Paris time.
By Tom Burgis in Paris and Esther Bintliff in London with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.
17.27 That’s about it for our live coverage from Paris today. A quick round-up of the day’s developments.
We leave you with news of a rare moment of accountability in said crisis:
Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, has been found guilty of one count of negligence in the run-up to the country’s 2008 banking crash but will receive no punishment. The FT’s Michael Stothard reports from Stockholm:
Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, has been found guilty of one count of negligence in the run-up to the country’s 2008 banking crash but will receive no punishment.
A special court of impeachment designed to deal with criminal charges against Icelandic government ministers found Mr Haarde guilty of failing to hold dedicated cabinet meetings ahead of the crisis.
But the court cleared him of three more significant charges that could have carried a sentence of up to two years in jail.
The full story is here. À la prochaine… Read more
France's Socialist Party candidate François Hollande greets supporters after a campaign speech in Bordeaux. Getty Images
For a man who stands on the brink of the French presidency, François Hollande is remarkably low-key, as I discovered tonight at his last campaign rally before the first round of voting on Sunday.
Over the weekend President Sarkozy staged a big campaign rally in the Place de la Concorde and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left candidate, spoke in Marseilles before a crowd estimated at around 100,000. By contrast, tonight Hollande spoke at a suburban park in Bordeaux, before a crowd of just a few thousand. His reception was warm, but there was no sense of fervour. And yet the opinion polls suggest that Hollande will win the decisive second round on May 6th – beating Sarkozy by a wide margin. Read more