Tehran, YJC. The first round of municipal elections has begun in France with the ruling Socialist Party likely to face major losses.
The first round of municipal elections has begun in France with the ruling Socialist Party likely to face major losses.
Voters will elect mayors and municipal counselors in 36,000 towns, cities, and villages across the country.
The elections are the first since President Francois Hollande took office in 2012.
Commentators say voters could punish the Socialist Party for its failure to improve the ailing French economy and lower the unemployment rate in the country.
The opposition conservative UMP Party could also lose ground due to a string of issues including scandals surrounding former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
However, the anti-immigrant far-right National Front Party is expected to make considerable gains in the elections with some analysts estimating that the party would get at least 10 percent of the first-round vote.
Last week, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged voters to "do everything” to prevent National Front from winning the elections.
In January, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of the capital, Paris, in protest against poor performance of the Hollande administration.
The French president, who took office in May 2012 with pledges of economic and foreign policy reforms, has become the most unpopular French president on record as he has failed to fulfill the promises he made during his election campaign.
A survey conducted by French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) indicated in November 2013 that Hollande’s approval rating dropped to 20 percent, which is the worst level recorded for a French president since the public opinion survey started in 1958.