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Thursday, August 13, 2020

France to vote for administrative ballots: the country returns to the polls after the covid. Socialist Hidalgo leads the way in Paris, the Greens are aiming for Lyon and Marseille. The Le Pen party is played Perpignan

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The France returns to vote for the ballots of the administrative elections and does so three months after the first round of controversy: it was in fact on March 15 and the French went to vote despite the high number of contagions in Europe, so much so that only two days later I shot the lockdown all over the country. In the slow return to normal, the call to the ballot box becomes a fundamental step. You vote in 4,820 municipalities, after an election campaign marked by the rules of distancing and the gathering bans. The eyes are particularly focused on Paris, although, according to forecasts, no big surprises are expected: the candidate of the Socialist Party Anne Hidalgo is solidly ahead in front of the two opponents (among which is the former Macron government health minister) Agnes Buzyn), although polls give it 10 points less than the first round six years ago.

The polls do not know how to untie the central node of this unpublished election: after the participation at 44.3% (all-time low) in the midst of the Covid-19 storm, will abstention be confirmed very high or will the voters return to the polls? In the first case, the runoff will resemble the first round also in the results, which are rather obvious. If many decide to vote instead, certain situations may be reversed. Many of the balances for government and presidency of the Republic will also depend on the outcome of the administrative elections. And many likely damage a downsizing of the candidates for mayors of La Republique en Marche, Macron’s party. The number of participants follows with bated breath the top and candidates of LREM, the presidential and government majority: many Macron candidates have cashed heavy defeats, if they vote the same as 3 months ago – after a management of the often criticized pandemic – the situation will certainly not improve.

Paris, the socialist mayor who seeks reconfirmation by focusing on green policies – The Paris game will be fundamental, even if the outcome is taken for granted. Anne Hidalgo – with its anti-car policy, the work to transform the squares into gardens, the closure of the arteries of the capital with often limited but congested traffic – is at 45% of preferences, according to polls. Down compared to when he first showed up to drive the city, but it’s the price he pays for an urban policy that has divided Parisians. Hidalgo, daughter of a Spanish republican who fled to Spain, is an exponent of the socialist party, reduced to the minimum terms at the national level. But she came in the lead in the first round, winning in all the workers’ quarters of the eastern part of the city. Yet just a year ago, Paris seemed within reach for Macron’s party: throughout 2018 Hidalgo had been the target of criticism. Before there had been the flood of the Seine which had contributed to a record spread of rats around the city. Then there were false starts for the bike sharing and diffusion systems of electric cars, while the pedestrianization project of a part of the long Seine had been stopped by the court. But his green policies for sustainable mobility, which has become fundamental in the post covid, could now be his trump card. Detached by 10 points Rachida Dati (Republicains), Nicolas Sarkozy’s former justice minister, who earned points in the election campaign but not enough to worry the outgoing mayor. Follows, around 18%, the former Minister of Health, Agnes Buzyn, catapulted by Macron into the Parisian election campaign while she was managing the start of the campaign against the pandemic. With very little success and, above all, ended up at the center of the controversy for declaring to be aware of the danger of the pandemic well before the start of the lockdown.

The prime minister candidate for Le Havre and the specter of the government reshuffle – But important for the government balance will not be only the result of Paris. In the north, great anticipation for the result of Edouard Philippe, candidate for Le Havre. The premier has turned out to be Macron’s alter ego in recent weeks and if the president has paid for the Covid-19 period in popularity, Philippe has earned it. This is also why many think that the announced reshuffle that will take place in the coming weeks will also serve the Elysée to change a premier that is becoming too cumbersome. His defeat would be a serious political blow, but Philippe is favored in the second round, also because the opposition has split between greens and communists. In the event of a victory, Philippe will remain at the helm of the government, but does not rule out returning to being mayor before the end of Macron’s term. In addition to Le Havre, the French President’s party could also win in Strasbourg.

The Greens on the field to snatch Marseille and Lyon – The Greens, who aim to reconfirm the conquest of the city of Grenoble, hope to win in other cities. TO Marseilles, supporting the candidate on the left Michèle Rubirola, challenge the right after 25 years of reign of the Republicans: the victory in what is considered a laboratory city for the center-left alliances, could send important signals also at a national level. But not only. Great attention also for what will happen in Lyon: the city where the historic mayor Gerard Collomb, former Macron interior minister and one of the founders of En Marche has always ruled, risks falling into the hands of the candidate for mayor of the Greens Grégory Doucet.

Marine Le Pen’s party can focus almost only on Perpignan – Despite good results in national polls, the National gathering, the far right of Marine Le Pen, doesn’t have many games to play in the ballots. If in fact he kept many of his municipalities in the first round, the most important game for the second is played in Perpignan. Here the first citizen’s chair is played by the deputy Louis Aliot, as well as a former partner of Marine Le Pen herself. For the National Rassemblement, the great difficulty of taking root at a territorial level is confirmed, while in national polls the signals go in the opposite direction. Only on June 22 last, the Ifop institute found that if we voted today in the presidential elections in France, it would be again ballot between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen as in 2017. And the president would be reconfirmed for a second term, albeit with a smaller margin of victory. No other possible names would go beyond 12%. At the ballot Macron, again according to Ifop, would then be reconfirmed with 55% compared to 48% of the opponent. In 2017, the leader of La Republique en marche obtained 66.1% against Le Pen’s 33.9%. .

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