The controversial National Front party lost ground to former president Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right UMP party and their allies in the first round of the French elections on Sunday.
UMP took 32% of the vote, with Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) trailing at 26%. Current president Francis Hollande's Socialists came in third with 21% of the vote.
All is not said and done for the resurgent Sarkozy, who still has to face a second round of elections on March 29, but it does signal to Hollande's majority that the French people could be ready for change.
Don't look for a winning alliance between UMP and the FN, though. From Reuters:
Sarkozy immediately ruled out any alliances between his party and FN candidates in next Sunday's second round, which will decide who controls France's "departements", one level in France's complex multi-layered system of local government.
"To those who voted National Front, we understand your frustrations," UMP chairman Sarkozy told supporters at party headquarters.
"But this party will not solve France's problems - it will only make them worse," added the ex-president, who came out of retirement last year and hopes to secure the 2017 presidential ticket for his bitterly divided party in primaries next year.
Today challenger Francois Hollande unseated incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy with 52 percent of the vote, in doing so becoming the second Socialist president in France's history.
Sarkozy, who conceded defeat late Sunday, thanked the French people for his five years as leader of the country, adding: