- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

Socialists in France admit their party just took a big hit in recent municipal elections, as preliminary results show voters took out their frustrations with a lagging economy and opted for more center-right candidates.

UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope is calling it a “blue wave” of support for the center-right, as the National Front headed toward wins in 15 different towns, BBC reported.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was forced to admit that the election results seemed a clear message for the Socialist-ruling government.

“[It’s] a defeat for the government and the majority,” he said, BBC reported. “The message is clear. … The president will draw conclusions, and he will do so in the interest of France.”

Socialist President Francois Hollande — who has made international headlines with his crackdown on the rich and implementation of taxes aimed at the wealthy — is due to make an address on Monday, ostensibly to speak about his party’s local losses. Preliminary election results showed the Socialists had lost 155 towns, where more than 9,000 live, BBC reported.

Meanwhile, the center-right UMP was believed to have won some key cities: Toulouse, Limoges and Roubaix, to name a few. The Socialists still kept control of Paris, with Anne Hidalgo set to become the first female mayor in the capital city.