In the first round of the local elections in France, Nicolas Sarkozy’s center right UMP party won 32% of the vote, a considerable lead over Marine Le Pen’s Front National, with 25%. This was a surprise setback for Le Pen, after pre-election polls showed her party neck-and-neck with UMP. President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist party came in third, with 22%. The results show “French people’s profound desire for change” said Sarkozy, who ruled out any alliance with Le Pen. A run-off vote is scheduled for March 29.