Le Pen candidate shown gaining control of Provence region in opinion poll

FILE PHOTO: Marine Le Pen, leader of France's National Rally party attends a news conference with Portugal's far-right presidential candidate Andre Ventura (not pictured) in Lisbon, Portugal, January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The far-right looked set to win control of the regional authority encompassing Provence and the French Riviera in elections in June, according to one poll which, if proven correct, would show momentum is building behind Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen's party, led by former conservative minister Thierry Mariani would come top in all alliance scenarios, according to the Ipsos Sopra Steria poll for France Television, with between 37% and 39% of the votes in the first round on June 20.

In the second round of voting on June 27, Mariani would also come first. The scenario in which all parties rallied behind the best-placed one to defeat the far-right, a strategy known as the 'Republican front", was not tested, however.

Winning the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region around Marseille and Nice, the first time the far-right would take control of a French region, would give Le Pen a strong boost ahead of presidential elections next year.

The poll showed an alliance between President Emmanuel Macron's party (LaRem) and the traditional centre-right party Les Republicains (LR) would not help it win the region.

A pact between the incumbent centre-right candidate and Macron's party to form an alliance against the far-right in the southern battleground unravelled last week.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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