Surprise success from the center-right in the first round – .

Surprise success from the center-right in the first round – .

Results fell in the first round of regional elections in France, with the center-right Les Républicains party winning nearly a third of the vote.
The other big winner was the center-left Socialist Party, which garnered a large number of votes in western France.

The far-right National Rally won only one victory in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, after being tipped to win in several regions.

The Republic on the march of President Macron! won only 10% of the vote nationally.

The winners of the first round in each region

Auvergne Rhône-Alpes: Laurent Wauquiez (The Republicans-The Union of Democrats and Independents)

Brittany: Loïg Chesnais-Girard (Socialist Party-French Communist Party)

Burgundy Franche-Comté: Marie-Guite Dufay (Socialist Party-French Communist Party-Left Radical Party)

Loire Valley Center: François Bonneau (Socialist Party-French Communist Party-Radical Left Party)

Corsica: Gilles Simeoni (Regionalists)

Great East: Jean Rottner (The Republicans)

Hauts-de-France: Xavier Bertrand (The Republicans)

Ile-de-France: Valérie Pécresse (Free-Republicans-Union of Democrats and Independents)

Normandy: Hervé Morin (The Republicans-The Union of Democrats and Independents-Democratic Movement)

New Aquitaine: Alain Rousset (Socialist Party / French Communist Party)

Occitanie: Carole Delga (Socialist Party / French Communist Party)

Pays de la Loire: Christelle Morancais (The Republicans)

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Thierry Mariani (National Gathering)

The second and decisive ballot will take place on Sunday June 27.

The health crisis discourages voters

One of the most notable points of the election was the high number of voters who abstained.

A national poll * showed that 66.1% of eligible voters did not vote.

This represents an increase from 39.16% abstention in the first round of regional elections in 2004, 53.67% in 2010 and 50.09% in 2015.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the low turnout was “partly related to the health situation,” making people reluctant to vote and possibly expose themselves to the virus.

Professor Martial Foucault, director of political research at Sciences Po, said FranceInfo that health restrictions also had an impact on preparations for Sunday’s vote.

“This election was invisible,” he said. “Candidates were not allowed to start campaigning at public rallies until June 9, which is a very short time. “

The candidate of La France Insoumise in Bobigny, Florent Lacaille-Albiges, confirmed: “With all the health measures, we are in a situation where the debate has dried up. “

Disorganization in polling centers

Those who went out to vote may also have been discouraged by the disorganization of the polling centers.

In Marseille, the vote opened late due to a lack of staff, some places not being fully operational before 12:30 pm.

In Cousolre (North), the vote opened but with one of the lists of candidates missing from the ticket.

And as the elections approach, many candidate information packs, intended to be sent to all eligible voters, have not been distributed.

The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, blamed the private company Adrexo, which was to display the packages in seven regions, with 22 million voters.

Mr. Darmanin said the company had “particularly poorly distributed election materials” after leaflets were found thrown into the countryside and in the trash or kept in storage a few days before the election.

General tendency to abandon political engagement

Local elections regularly have less turnout than presidential elections, but this could also have been exacerbated by a growing sense of disengagement from politics.

The same national poll * suggested that 39% of voters believed regional elections “wouldn’t change anything in their lives.”

Another 23% wanted to use the elections to express their “dissatisfaction with politicians in general”.

And 22% did not like “any of the lists or candidates” in the running.

Professor Foucault believes that this disengagement may indicate that a profound change in the French system is necessary.

He said: “The events with the yellow vests movement, followed by national debates have shown that we are done with this cycle of electoral democracy with a model where the electorate can only express themselves by voting.

“This model is no longer enough to keep democracy alive.

*Survey by Ipsos / Sopra Steria for France Télévisions

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