French Greens make gains as Macron’s party falters in local polls

  • French Greens make gains as Macron’s party falters in local polls

French Greens make gains as Macron’s party falters in local polls

France is holding the second round of elections in 5,000 towns and cities where they were postponed due to the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Sunday's voting also appears as a setback for French President Emmanuel Macron's young centrist party, which was fielding municipal candidates for the first time and still lacks local roots across France. She obtained 50.2 percent of the votes, according to LCI, followed by conservative candidate Rachida Dati (LR) with 32.0 percent. She has been mayor since 2014 and is known for her eco-initiatives in Paris to combat air pollution, like encouraging cycling and electric vehicle usage instead of general cars.

The main battleground is Paris, where the mayor is an influential figure in French politics and will oversee the 2024 Olympics.

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.

The second round of the municipal elections has seen a record low turnout amid lingering worries about the pandemic.

Only 40% of voters cast ballots as French voters were required to wear masks, maintain social distancing while in lines and carry their own pens to sign voting registers.

In France's two-round electoral system, the second and final vote would normally take place a week after the first.

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.

In Paris, socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo was re-elected with the assistance of the coalition of Europe Ecology-The Greens, France's green party.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, in charge of organizing the elections, said that "everywhere across France, health measures. were able to be respected. That is a satisfaction".

Voters are set to choose mayors and municipal councillors on Sunday at polling stations operating under strict hygiene rules.

The first round of the elections had taken place in March just before the country locked down over COVID-19.

The spread of the coronavirus has slowed significantly in France in recent weeks and nearly all restrictions on social and business activity were gradually lifted over the last month.

The spread of Covid-19 has slowed significantly in France, following almost 200,000 confirmed cases and 29,781 deaths.

However, Mr Macron has expressed concern at the low turnout in the elections, which are seen as a key indicator in the lead-up to presidential elections in 2022.

The final round of local elections where delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and have delivered a awful outcome for the president's party La République En Marche.

In a rare positive development for Mr Macron, his popular Prime Minister Édouard Philippe was elected mayor of the north-western port city of Le Havre. Although the French constitution allows Philippe to name someone to act as mayor while he remains prime minister, his win deepens questions over his job as premier.

Polls showed before the election on Sunday that around 49 percent of the voters supported Hidalgo.

The conservative Republicans party, which was the big victor in the 2014 municipal election and has a strong network of local elected officials, appeared to do well again.

The anti-immigration, far-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, was focusing on consolidating its 2014 results, when candidates backed by the party won in 12 towns.