PARIS (Reuters) – France voted on Sunday in the first round of regional elections, which could be seen as a bulwark for the presidential election in April next year. With a registered vote, only 33% of French voters cast ballots — early results for Elyse Palace’s two main rivals lost expectations: President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
In recent weeks, opinion polls suggest that Le Pen’s National Reunion Party, the successor to the former National Front, may be leading in six of the country’s 13 regions. Exit polls, however, show that it only leads to the summary of Provence-Alpes-C டிte d’Azur, near the Italian border in the southeast.
However, Le Pen’s candidate, Thierry Mariani, was expected to win a landslide victory in the region where Marseille is located, but it did not work. Preliminary results show that he is three percentage points higher than Renat Museler of the Conservative Party (LR).
A victory in the second round — the first time the RN has commanded a French region — is unlikely, however, as other parties will unite in a “Republican Front” to keep the far right out of power.
The election, which was postponed for three months due to an epidemic, was marked by a registered vote: Ipsos estimates the national turnout was 66.1%. In 2015, it was about 50%.
According to a poll by France Info, 39% of voters said they did not go to the polls because elections “do not change anything” in their lives and 23% say they are generally dissatisfied with politics. It was a sunny day, and the fact that wearing a mask was not mandatory in the country for the first weekend seemed to have contributed to the low attendance.
In a brief speech after the initial results, Le Pen urged his party supporters not to be discouraged and to go to the polls next week:
“If you want to change things, you have to vote,” he said. “I can only lament this civic catastrophe, which has greatly distorted the electoral reality of this country and given a wrong impression about the political forces.
Nationally, Republicans received 27.2% of the vote, while RN received 19.3% of the vote, according to Ipsos. Performance was seven percentage points worse than in 2015. The Socialist Party and its center-left front are 17.6% and the Greens 12.5%. Macron’s party, Republika M Marcha, came in fourth with 11.2% of the vote.
The LR’s victory in the Aldos de Francia region in the north of the country was particularly significant: exit polls gave its candidate Xavier Bertrand 44% of the vote, with the RN candidate campaigning strongly against 24.4%, a larger margin than expected in the region.
The result is encouraging Bertrand’s plans to be a conservative candidate in next year’s election. He said the numbers indicate that the LR is the best way to confront the far-right in 2022 after the polls close.
LR politicians lead in the Greater East, outside Ile-de-France and in the Auvergne-Rhne-Alps region in the southeast. The Socialists must rule in Occitan and Brittany.
Regional elections are mainly based on local issues – more than half of the electorate, for example, told Ipsos that their votes do not signify following or rejecting the national government. For Macron, who is only 38% popular among the French, the result is worse than expected.
Aror Berke, a supporter of the president, described the PFMTV channel as a “democratic slap in the face” to the party. He did not win even in the regions where he fielded ministers.
Elections help create meetings in 13 regions and 96 French constituencies. For a candidate to be declared the winner in the first round, he needs at least 50% of the vote. The final round of elections will take place next Sunday, and to qualify, candidate lists must have more than 10% of the vote. The parties have until Tuesday to form alliances and register lists for the second round.
Le Pen is ahead of Macron in the first round of elections next year, and the candidate is gaining momentum in the second round. It is driven by a platform that sees the current president as a weak leader on immigration and national security, two issues that will be major issues in 2022.
At the same time, he seeks the right and center-right votes dissatisfied with Macron, trying to soften inflammatory euroseptic and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In April, however, he became embroiled in controversy when he called retired generals to his side, in which he signed an open letter recommending that they intervene to confront the “growing chaos” in the country, pressuring Macron to protect France from Islam and the outlying partisans leaving the country on the brink of “immediate civil war”. “.