The Huffington Post - President Nicolas Sarkozy's party braced for a potential electoral wipeout in Sunday's final round of regional elections, which an alliance of the rival left hopes will give it a national sweep and a staging ground for 2012 presidential voting.
Even damage control was difficult for the conservatives.
Sarkozy's UMP party, or Union for a Popular Majority, has ended up pleading with voters to go to the polls, hoping supporters simply failed to cast ballots in the first round – the case for more than one in two French.
The participation rate was at a historic low in last Sunday's voting – some 46 percent. The Socialist-led left won 53.5 percent of the votes while the UMP-led conservatives had 39.9 percent.
Even with Sarkozy's party, some said voters were being alienated by the president and his high-speed reforms.
Former Prime Minister Alain Juppe said this week that Sarkozy must start "facing reality." Read more.