(FRANCE24) — France’s mainstream political parties were Monday scratching their heads over what to do about a surge by the Front National (FN) after a breakthrough by-election win for the far-right party.

The ruling Socialist party and the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, face humiliating reverses in municipal and European elections next year if the FN can sustain its current standing in the eyes of an electorate thoroughly fed-up with record unemployment, rising taxes and a perceived increase in crime and insecurity.

A poll published last week suggested the FN could emerge as the best-supported party in the European elections with 24 percent of those asked declaring themselves ready to back the party led by Marine Le Pen, the daughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

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