PARIS (Reuters) – France emerges from months of blocking coronaviruses to vote on Sunday in a delayed second round of municipal elections, opinion polls suggest disastrous result for President Emmanuel Macron, whose party may not win in any big city.
A year ago, Macron had hoped that local elections would help anchor his young party in cities across France, including Paris, before a re-election slated for 2022. But more recently, presidential aides have downplayed expectations.
In the capital, the biggest election prize, incumbent socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo is poised to achieve a comfortable victory after a chaotic campaign by Macron and his party La République en Marche (LaRem).
Meanwhile, the Greens should do well in cities like Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux, sometimes in alliance with the left, building on the momentum they created during the 2019 European elections. In Perpignan, the far right party of Marine Le Pen could take control of its first city of more than 100,000 inhabitants.
France continued the first round of municipal elections in mid-March, less than 48 hours before Macron imposed one of the strictest bans in Europe, forcing a long delay before the second round.
” We will be careful. We can always bring our own pen, wear a mask and use a disinfectant gel, ”said Christian Courtot, a retired Parisian.
Macron said he would “reinvent” his presidency and present a detailed plan next month for the last two years of his term.
A government reshuffle is widely expected, with the biggest question mark over the future of Macron’s People’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe. Philippe is running for his former post as mayor of Le Havre.
Report by Richard Lough; Editing by Peter Graff
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