a green wave and a record abstention

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Record abstention and an unprecedented green wave: the second round of municipal elections on Sunday proved to be out of the ordinary, also offering a comfortable re-election to Edouard Philippe in Le Havre and the taking of Perpignan at the National Rally.

From Lyon to Strasbourg via Bordeaux, the big cities were therefore adorned with green on Sunday evening, after a second round which confirmed, and even amplified, the hopes of ecologists born during the 1st round on March 15 .

In Paris, where uncertainty was low, the outgoing Anne Hidalgo (PS) allied with EELV, was re-elected with her hands on the handlebars herself by endorsing a resolutely green program.

This green surge should lead Emmanuel Macron to intervene on Monday morning by receiving at the Elysée Palace the members of the Citizens Convention on the climate to which he intends to provide “strong responses” and “up to the challenges and expectations”, fact know the Elysée at AFP.

The head of state should generally specify, in the coming days, his stated intention to “reinvent himself” for the last two years of his mandate. But the results of Sunday make the ecological theme essential.

The Greens even did a double blow in Lyon: Bruno Bernard won the metropolis there, seat of real power, and Grégory Doucet the city, by beating Yann Cucherat, foal of the outgoing mayor Gérard Collomb.

The situation is more confused in Marseille where the environmental candidate Michèle Rubirola, at the head of a left coalition, claimed a “relative victory”, estimating that “the right is no longer able to govern” the city. But the candidate LR Martine Vassal, dubbed by the outgoing Jean-Claude Gaudin, refused to admit his defeat, ensuring that there was at this stage “no majority in Marseille”.

The Greens were also able to claim victory in Strasbourg, with Jeanne Barseghian, and in Bordeaux, with Pierre Hurmic who beat the outgoing LR mayor Nicolas Florian, supported by LREM. A small earthquake after 73 years of right mayor elections on the banks of the Garonne.

In the northern capital on the other hand, the outgoing mayor PS Martine Aubry ended up winning by a hair against the green candidate Stéphane Baly, at the end of a thriller.

Other big cities – Besançon, Tours Poitiers, Annecy … – have fallen into the hands of the Greens, who have long served as an auxiliary force but assert themselves as the first to the left before the next elections.

In Grenoble, ecologist Eric Piolle (EELV), at the head of a broad left coalition, announced his re-election with more than 50% of the vote.

– Philippe reinforced? –

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also comes out strengthened after his comfortable re-election in his stronghold of Le Havre, with almost 59% of the vote. Emmanuel Macron congratulated him on his “great victory” and the two heads of the executive will see “a little time alone” on Monday.

On the strength of his success, could Mr. Philippe be comforted in his position when a major government reshuffle is looming? Or suffer from a hypothetical ecological turn at the top?

According to a Harris interactive survey for TF1, LCI and RTL Sunday evening, a majority of French people (55%) want him to remain Prime Minister and 59% want EELV ministers in the government in the event of a reshuffle.

Three months after a first round already upset by the coronavirus crisis, this second round was also marked by a participation rate at half mast, between 40% and 41% according to estimates, against 62.1% in 2014. Despite precautions exceptional sanitary facilities (wearing a mandatory mask at polling stations, hydroalcoholic gel) and the ebb of the epidemic, a large majority of the 16.5 million voters called to vote in 4,820 communes shunned the voting booths.

A disaffection of the ballot boxes which sounds like “a form of cold insurrection”, according to the rebellious chief Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It aroused the “concern” of Emmanuel Macron, for whom this abstention is “not very good news”, according to the Elysee.

– Hidalgo en force –

Unlike the other big cities, there was little suspense in Paris. Anne Hidalgo is well ahead of her competitors LR Rachida Dati and LREM Agnès Buzyn.

For the latter, the ordeal of the campaign ended with a final humiliation: lack of sufficient voices in its XVII arrondissement, she will not even be counselor of Paris. Symbol of a general fiasco for La République en Marche.

Emmanuel Macron’s main national opponent, the Rassemblement national won Perpignan. By defeating outgoing LR mayor Jean-Marc Pujol, Louis Aliot gives back to the party of Marine Le Pen, who also won Bruay-la-Buissière (Pas-de-Calais) and Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne), the control of its first city of more than 100,000 inhabitants since 1995 and Toulon.

“This is not only a symbolic victory, it is a real trigger, because we will also be able to demonstrate that we are capable of managing large communities,” said Le Pen.

Very weakened at the national level, the Socialist Party and The Republicans were counting on these elections to rebuild their health locally.

The PS therefore retained Paris, Lille, Rennes, Nantes, Le Mans, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon and delighted Nancy, where Mathieu Klein won against the outgoing radical Hénart, Montpellier, with Mickaël Delafosse and Saint-Denis, stronghold of PCF, with Mathieu Hanotin.

Despite the enormous symbolic scope of a possible setback in Marseille, The Republicans confirmed their establishment by winning in the first round many of the cities of more than 9,000 inhabitants they controlled. Sunday, they saw Jean-Luc Moudenc reappointed at the head of Toulouse, like Christian Estrosi in Nice.

The municipal councilors, elected for six years, will then meet from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 July to elect the mayors and their assistants.

bur-dch-jmt-jri / jk / ao

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