Paris: President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen appear poised for disappointing results in France’s regional elections.
The president’s LREM movement took just 7 percent in the runoff race to renew 13 metropolitan councils on Sunday, while the Le Pen National Rally captured 20 percent of the vote nationally, and once again not. no region will succeed, exit polls showed.
The right-wing won 38 percent nationwide and left-wing parties, including the Greens, Socialists and Jean Luc Melenchon’s far-left France Unbowed party, won 34.5 percent, according to an Ifop poll.
Polls suggested that incumbents, mostly from the traditional right, but also from the left, would retain their regional seats. Turnout was at an all-time low for local elections with an estimated abstention rate of 65.7%.
Local polls do not usually translate into national politics. But like the last national election before the presidential race in April 2022, it was being closely followed to get an idea of what voters were thinking. But what he has indicated is that France’s traditional movements are holding on, four years after Macron imploded the two-party system with his centrist career.
Le Pen had a lot at stake in this vote because winning even a region for the first time could have helped convince the French that power can be trusted. Instead, his candidate in the Marseille region, the one with the best chance of winning, looks set to lose to the conservative incumbent. Overall, his party is on track to do worse than in the last regional elections in 2015, when it won 27 percent of the vote.
Macron’s party fared poorly in the first round and neither region is expected to win on its own, a repeat of last year’s failure to secure major cities in municipal elections. The sad demonstration could put off grassroots supporters that the president will have to knock on doors and hand out flyers next year and is unlikely to boost the morale of party members he will need to help boost the presidential campaign.
Valerie Pecresse seemed poised to win the populous and economically important region of Paris. Now she could be a candidate for the presidency, along with another right-wing head of a regional council, Xavier Bertrand, who is set to win the poorest region of Hauts-de-France, and Laurent Wauquiez in the region around Lyon.
The nationwide turnout was less than 30 percent by late afternoon. Among the few who did vote, some lamented that young voters, in particular, seemed to be wasting their last chance before the 2022 presidential election.