France goes to the polls in the second round of local elections | News


The French voted in the last round of the municipal elections, which should lead to low voter turnout and a reprimand for the party of President Emmanuel Macron.

The first round took place on March 15, when the coronavirus pandemic was on the increase. The second phase, scheduled for March 22, was postponed after the foreclosure of France on March 17.

Despite a record 55% abstention rate, the first round resulted in a decisive result in around 85%, or 30,000 French municipalities.

This means that political power remains to be won Sunday in about 5,000 undecided municipal councils, including the main centers of Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Strasbourg.

Some 16.5 million people are registered to vote, and those who have been asked to wear a face mask are asked to bring their own pens to minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion.

Analysts expect the election to confirm that the centrist Macron Republic on the Move (LREM) party – founded by the president before his victory in the 2017 election – failed to gain a foothold locally.

The party made dull projections in March – notably in Paris where Macron’s candidate, former Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, finished third.

Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo is expected to retain the capital in Sunday’s vote.

With a death toll of almost 30,000, France has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most restrictions have now been relaxed, but government anger at the shortage of protective equipment, including face masks, was widespread at the very beginning of the pandemic.

Cabinet reshuffle?

During the epidemic, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe – an unskilled technocrat – saw his popularity reach a level higher than that of Macron, who, according to critics, is a president of the wealthy.

Some have speculated that a poor performance by LREM on Sunday could see Macron announcing a major cabinet reshuffle, perhaps the ax of Philippe, who campaigned to become mayor of the Norman port city of Le Havre.

22 months before the next presidential election, Macron’s main challenger nationwide is far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the National Rally (RN).

A poll by Harris Interactive Epoka on Friday showed that 44% of respondents had a favorable opinion of Macron, while 51% were positive on Philippe, a jump of 13 points for the Prime Minister in a few months.

Despite an appalling performance in the last presidential election, French socialists are expected to retain key regional centers, including Paris, where three women compete for the highest office.

Particular attention will also be paid to the Green Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV) evening, which has an eye on the alpine pole of Grenoble as well as Strasbourg and Lyon.

In Marseille, the left politician Michele Rubirola hopes to take the second city of France by the right after a quarter of a century of control.

For RN Le Pen, the jackpot would be the city of Perpignan, to the southeast, which could become the scene of the first takeover by the far right of a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants from Toulon in 1995.

The only region of France where voting does not take place is the overseas territory of French Guiana in South America, where the pandemic is still considered too active to proceed with the vote.


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