The French Greens stepped up their campaign in the Pays de la Loire on Friday in the hope of narrowly winning their first region in nearly 30 years in the last round of elections on Sunday.
But after a record abstention rate in the first round of French regional and local elections last week departmental elections – where more than 66% of voters did not travel across the country – traditional right-wing candidates were to retain the majority of regions.
The focus this weekend is on a few tight races. The Greens have joined forces on a single ticket with the Socialists and other left-wing parties to try to overthrow the right in two key regions: the Pays de la Loire in western France and in Île-de-France.
Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen’s far-right and anti-immigration national rally is in the spotlight in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur (Paca), where its candidate, Thierry Mariani, came first in the first round. . If the party wins control of its very first region, it would be a political earthquake and a springboard for Le Pen’s presidential candidacy next spring. But the left withdrew to clear the way for the right-wing candidate, Renaud Muselier, to block Le Pen’s party. This week’s polls showed Muselier had won, but the race was so close it was still within the margin of error.
Le Pen’s party suffered from massive abstention and very low turnout from modest voters and young people in the first round. We would have to reverse that to win Paca. Le Pen berated his party’s supporters for the “civic disaster” and, along with other far-right figures, ordered them to “Get moving! in the final round.
In Pays de La Loire, the deputy and engineer Matthieu Orphelin, supported by the Greens, led a week of intense campaigning after joining the Socialists against the right. Orphan is an unconventional candidate. Longtime green, he was among the politicians who joined Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist party in 2017, but left in 2019 disappointed with the president’s record on green issues.
Orphelin said Pays de La Loire could serve as a model to bring together divided left parties for next year’s presidential race. Currently, the left appears strong locally in France, but is much weaker on the national scene and with the approach of the presidential election of 2022. “People want to be able to hope, they want environmentalists and left to reinvent themselves in the Pays de the Loire ”, declared Orphelin on French television. “People say what you did here [uniting leftwing parties] – we want this to be done in 2022. It’s a laboratory here – there is a wave of optimism. He said the end result would be very close – based on just 1,000 votes.
The Pays de la Loire race was brutal, with Orphelin filing a complaint with the police that right-wing activists made homophobic remarks and gestures to him during the election campaign. The right-wing candidate, Christelle Morancais, complained of not accepting that Orphelin “speaks to me like a dog”.
Morancais leads the first round with 34.3%. Orphan took 18.7% and joined the Socialist candidate who took 16.3%.
In Île-de-France, the Greens have also joined forces with the Socialists and the leftist party Jean-Luc Mélenchon on a single ticket to try to overthrow the right-wing regional leader Valérie Pécresse, who aims to run. for the president next year.
Pécresse remains the favorite and scored 35.94% in the first round. The United Left’s ticket holds around 34% of the vote and faces a very difficult race. However, the speed with which left-wing parties reached a deal in the Île-de-France region has given observers hope that the bickering could be put aside as next year’s presidential election approaches. Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said “hope is reborn” that France will not face the failure of Emmanuel Macron against Marine Le Pen in the presidential final next spring, which all polls are currently predicting.
The political map of France’s metropolitan regions could remain unchanged after Sunday’s final round if the extremely low turnout expected allows the incumbent regional leaders to retain their seats.
The French right currently rules seven mainland regions and the left has five, with Corsican nationalists dominating the second round in the Mediterranean island.
Pollsters described a climate of “indifference” from voters and Macron, whose centrist party did wrong in the first round, told ministers it was a “democratic warning” to re-engage people in the Politics.