French voters head to the polls on March 22 and 29 to renew local councils, with the deadly attack on a Paris satirical magazine on January 7, 2015, by suspected Islamic militants well-timed to boost the fortunes of the far-right National Front.
The election results will be seen as a snapshot of the public mood and a possible preview of the 2017 presidential race, when victory for the anti-immigration far right might also signal doom for the European Union and euro.
Britain's Telegraph newspaper argued after the January attack that an extremist backlash in France, manifested by victory for the National Front and its charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, could eventually damage Europe's economies and signal the final demise of the European Union and euro.
In the 2014 European Parliament elections, the National Front led the field with 25 per cent of the vote. The UMP followed with 21 per cent of the vote. The ruling Socialists polled third, at 14 per cent.
Date written/update: 2015-01-14