Municipalities in France: record abstention, environmental push, Prime Minister re-elected (video)

Voters largely shunned the polls on Sunday in France for the second round of municipal elections, a ballot with national stakes marked by an environmentalist push and by a struggling presidential party in several large cities, despite the victory of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe .

Between the start of the summer holidays, concerns still present over the health situation and an interminable campaign – three and a half months separated the two towers, coronavirus forces – abstention reached record levels, close to 60%. Very soon after the first results, President Emmanuel Macron said to himself “concerned about the low turnout“.

The Republic on the March (LREM), the presidential party, is not in a position of strength in any big city. But Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who had not endorsed the LREM label, easily won the election in the port city of Le Havre with 59% of the vote.

Environmentalist boost

Well placed in several major cities in France, such as Lyon and Marseille whose results are expected later Sunday evening, environmentalists confirmed their good breakthrough in the first round, according to first estimates on Sunday. Poitiers (center) and Besançon (east), two medium-sized cities also turn green. In Lille, it was the socialist mayor Martine Aubry who won with a short head, ahead of “about 200 votes “ its environmental competitor Stéphane Baly, announced his entourage to AFP. The suspense lasted a good part of the beginning of the evening, the polls giving the two candidates neck and neck, largely in front of the macronist candidate Violette Spillebout.

The far right wins in Perpignan

The far right, for its part, won the election in Perpignan, a Catalan city, with the victory of Louis Aliot, the ex-companion of Marine le Pen. The deputy Louis Aliot won it against the mayor LR Jean-Marc Pujol, the first victory of the National Rally (RN) in a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants since Toulon, conquered in 1995. “We have won. It is a system that is crumbling. We have had the same political staff in Perpignan at the helm since 1959. It was getting unhealthy“, Louis Aliot told AFP from his local campaign, among his closest collaborators.

Emmanuel Macron’s party says it is disappointed

Probably anxious to evacuate this cumbersome election as quickly as possible, Emmanuel Macron has already planned to speak on June 29. He will give his first responses to the proposals made by the Citizens’ Climate Convention, an assembly of 150 citizens drawn by lot to give color to direct democracy in the country. Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye shared on Sunday evening with France 2 the “disappointment“of the majority, who recorded scores sometimes”extremely disappointing “ because of its “divisions“during these municipal elections.”Tonight we are disappointed, because there are places, you mentioned Lyon just now, when our own internal division led us to extremely disappointing scores “, she said, saying that “In the coming months”, the Republic on the march could not “(allow) yourself this kind of division”.

An extraordinary abstention

Marked by abstention, this ballot will also remain like that of the coronavirus. After a first round organized at the time when the epidemic was sweeping over France, many precautions were taken for this second round. Mandatory mask, hydroalcoholic gel and physical distance were required for voting operations. France, hard hit by the new coronavirus, has recorded more than 29,750 deaths since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.

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