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France: Greens and Allies Successful in Local Elections

The Greens and their allies took part in the finals of the local elections in France achieved outstanding success. In cities like Lyon, Strasbourg or Besançon, there is a change of power pending, the TV channel France 2 reported on Sunday evening. The spokeswoman for Europe Ecology – Les Verts, Eva Sas, spoke of a “green wave”. So far, Grenoble is the only large city with a green mayor.

In Paris, socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo and her left-wing allies were well ahead of her conservative challenger Rachida Dati. The capital has a special symbolism in France.

The center camp of the head of state Emmanuel Macron suffered a severe defeat. The presidential party La République en Marche (LREM) failed with its original plan to conquer the capital and to surprise in other cities. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, however, won the election in the northern French port city of Le Havre with around 59 percent. “The results are clear in Le Havre,” said Philippe.

Run-off vote in 5000 municipalities, turnout is low

The right wing Rassemblement National (RN) held several bastions in the north and south of the country. The well-known RN politician Louis Aliot prevailed, according to France 2, in the runoff election in the city of Perpignan.

The run-off elections affected almost 5,000 municipalities, including the country’s largest cities. A good 16 million voters were called – this corresponds to about a third of those eligible to vote.

The run-off elections were overshadowed by a historically low turnout of around 40 percent. Several top politicians, including RN right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, expressed concern. Just six years ago, the stake was still a good 62 percent. The runoff elections were actually planned for late March, but had to be postponed due to the corona pandemic. Masks were mandatory in the polling stations.

Macron and his wife Brigitte chose Le Touquet in the northern French seaside resort, as TV pictures showed. After the elections, the 42-year-old wants to decide on his political course after the coronavirus pandemic, which hit France hard with around 30,000 deaths.

For weeks there has been speculation as to whether Macron will keep its civil rights prime minister in the expected government reshuffle or not. Philippe made his mark as a crisis manager during the pandemic and, according to surveys, is much more popular than the president.

Macron meanwhile focuses on big politics – on Friday he held a video conference with his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin, and on Monday he is expected to visit Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Brandenburg town of Meseberg.

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