PARIS, Dec 6 : France's far-right National Front (FN) is widely predicted to take a step towards gaining control of at least one region for the first time, as polls opened on Sunday three weeks after jihadist attacks in Paris left 130 people dead.
Around 44 million people are eligible to vote, with France under tight security and in a state of emergency following the country's worst-ever terror attacks, which have thrust the FN's anti-immigration and often Islamophobic message to the fore.
First projections are expected at 1900 GMT with FN leader Marine Le Pen on course to top the poll in the economically-depressed Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region in the north, once a bastion of the left.
Her 25-year-old niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen seems to be heading for an equally strong score.
Opinion polls give the FN between 27 percent and 30 percent of the vote in the first round, a similar score to the centre-right Republicans led by former president Nicolas Sarkozy. ?AFP