PARIS Anne Hidalgo saved Paris for the flagging Socialist Party in Sunday's municipal elections, becoming the French capital's first female mayor.
"I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge," Hidalgo said in a victory speech after defeating the candidate of the conservative right, former minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
But the far-right National Front came through with its plan to plant local roots around France, winning 10 towns, according to Interior Ministry results. Party leader Marine Le Pen said this gives her the ability to reach her goal of installing at least 1,000 municipal councilors. She said the party would have more than 1,200.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault conceded that the final round of voting boded ill for his Socialist party.
"This vote is a defeat for the government," he said.
The voting for local leadership was seen as referendum on unpopular President Francois Hollande. The Socialists' poor results left no doubt that the government would soon be reshuffled.