Paris' Socialist mayor reelected as France's local elections see green wave

29 Juin, 2020, 17:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Face masks and votes: French turnout in low numbers for delayed local elections

By 5.00 p.m. (1500 GMT) only 35 per cent of voters had cast a ballot, below the 52 per cent registered at the same time in the last municipal elections in 2014, and political observers forecast a record low.

A Green wave proved disastrous for French president Emmanuel Macron tonight as his party suffered significant loses in municipal elections.

Exit polls have already shown that Greens and their leftist allies may win control of the major cities Lyon and Marseille, and are ahead in sweeping Bordeaux City Hall.

President Emmanuel Macron centrist LREM party, which lacks the type of support at local level it enjoys nationally, failed to win in any major city.

The first results were expected from 8.00 p.m. local time.

"There are places. where our own internal divisions brought us to results that were extremely disappointing", Ndiaye told French television. Socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo won a second term with the support of the Greens after the president's Republic On the March party conducted a chaotic campaign in the capital.

Hidalgo, a Socialist, largely beat conservative candidate Rachida Dati, according to estimates based on partial results.

And in Goussainville, a commune on the outskirts of Paris, Abdelaziz Hamida, a candidate under police surveillance for years over to links to a radical Islamist group was elected mayor.

The highest-profile battleground was Paris, whose mayor will oversee the 2024 Olympics.

The anti-immigration, far-right National Rally won a symbolic victory in the city of Perpignan that counts more than 120,000 inhabitants in southern France.

The biggest coup for the Greens would be ousting former minister Martine Aubry as mayor of the northern city of Lille. But her entourage insisted to AFP that she had clung on in a knife-edge vote.

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Some 16.5 million eligible voters cast ballots in almost 5,000 cities and towns where the first round of municipal voting, on March 15, had failed to yield a decisive outcome.

This represents about 15 percent of the country's municipal councils where power remained up for grabs.

But estimates showed that only two in five voters turned up, an abstention rate that Le Pen described as "astonishing" and far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said amounted to "a civic strike".

Most restrictions have now been eased, but there is widespread anger at the government over shortages of personal protective equipment, including face masks, in the early stages of the pandemic.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo gesturing after her victorious second round of the municipal election Sunday.

With a death toll approaching 30,000, France has been badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

France had pressed ahead with the first round in mid-March, less than 48 hours before Macron imposed one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns, forcing a long delay before the second round.

Macron will on Monday hold talks with his prime minister, presidency officials said.

Mr Macron hopes an coming cabinet reshuffle will reinvigorate his party's fortunes.

The weak performance of Macron's La Republique en Marche will prompt much soul-searching for the president, who in the run-up to the vote said he wanted to reinvent his presidency with two years left in his mandate.

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