Wednesday, October 27

Regional elections in France: Greens hope to win the first region in 30 years | France

The French Green Party stepped up its campaign in Pays de La Loire on Friday in hopes of narrowly winning its first region in nearly 30 years in the final round of elections this Sunday.

But after a record abstention rate in the first round last week from French regionals and locals departmental Elections, in which more than 66% of voters did not turn out nationwide, traditional right-wing candidates were expected to remain in most regions.

This weekend, the focus is on a few close races. The Greens have joined in a single ticket with the Socialists and other left-wing parties to try to overthrow the right in two key regions: Pays de la Loire in western France and in the Île-de-France region, in the metropolitan area of ​​Paris.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen’s far-right and anti-immigration National Rally is in the spotlight in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (Paca) region, where her candidate, Thierry Mariani, topped the poll in the first round. . . If the party wins control of its first region, it would be a political earthquake and a springboard for Le Pen’s presidential candidacy next spring. But the left has retreated to leave a clear path for the dominant right’s candidate, Renaud Muselier, to block Le Pen’s party. Polls this week showed Muselier won, but the race was so close that he stayed in the margin of error.

Le Pen’s party suffered a massive abstention rate and very low turnout from low-income and youth voters in the first round. He would have to reverse that to win Paca. Le Pen scolded his party supporters for the “civic disaster” and, along with other far-right figures, ordered them to “Move!” during the final round.

In Pays de La Loire, the deputy and engineer Matthieu Orphelin, supported by the Green Party, led a week of intense campaign after allying with the Socialists against the right. Orphelin is an unconventional candidate. Green for life, he was one of the politicians who joined Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist party in 2017, but left in 2019 disappointed with the president’s track record on environmental issues.

Orphelin said the Pays de La Loire could serve as a model for bringing together divided left-wing parties for next year’s presidential race. Currently, the left seems strong locally in France, but it is much weaker on the national stage and in the run-up to the 2022 presidential race. “People want to be able to have hope, they want environmentalists and to go reinvent themselves. in the Pays de La Loire, “Orphelin told French television. “People say what you’ve done here [uniting leftwing parties] – we want that to be done in 2022. It is a laboratory here, there is a breeze of optimism. ”He said the final result would be very close, resting at just 1,000 votes.

Pays de la Loire’s career has been brutal, with Orphelin reporting to police that right-wing activists made homophobic comments and gestures to him during the election campaign. The candidate on the right, Christelle Morançais, complained that she would not accept Orphelin “talking to me like a dog.”

Morançais led the vote in the first round with 34.3%. Orphelin took 18.7% and has teamed up with the Socialist candidate who took 16.3%.

In the greater Paris region of Île-de-France, the Greens have also joined the Socialists and the left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon party in a single ticket to try to overthrow the right-wing regional boss Valérie Pécresse, who has the ambition to run for president next year.

Pécresse remains the favorite and scored 35.94% in the first round. The candidacy of the united left has about 34% of the vote and faces a very tough race. However, the speed at which left-wing parties reached an agreement in the Île-de-France region gave observers hope that the disputes could be shelved in the run-up to next year’s presidential elections. Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said “hope is reborn” that France will not face the inevitable conclusion of Emmanuel Macron against Marine Le Pen in the presidential final next spring, which all polls currently predict.

The political map of France’s continental regions could remain unchanged after Sunday’s final round if the extremely low turnout expected allows regional chiefs to take their seats.

The French right currently leads seven continental regions and the left five, with Corsican nationalists dominating the second round on the Mediterranean island.

Pollsters described an “indifferent” mood from voters and Macron, whose centrist party fared poorly in the first round, told ministers it was a “democratic warning” to re-engage people in politics. .

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