France's Macron Takes Drubbing in Local Elections, Greens Surge
Monday, 29 June 2020 17:53 WIB | GLOBAL |Global

France President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party received a drubbing Sunday in municipal elections, as the Greens celebrated victories in several big cities after a surge in support.

Macron had hoped the elections would help anchor his young party in towns and cities across France, including Paris, ahead of an anticipated 2022 reelection bid.

But aides had more recently been playing down expectations, and the sweeping wins by the Greens, who in some cities joined forces with leftist allies, may compel Macron to reshuffle his government to win back disenfranchised left-wing voters.

In a rare bright spot for Macron, his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, won his bid to become mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre. Although the French constitution allows Philippe to name someone to act as mayor while he remains prime minister, his win deepens questions over his job as premier.

Exit polls showed the Greens winning in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, building on the momentum created by their strong performance in France in last year's European Parliament elections.

Yannick Jadot, a European Parliament lawmaker from the Europe Ecology - The Greens, hailed an historic victory.

In this second round of voting, turnout was low and people wore masks because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The first round was held just days before Macron imposed one of Europe's strictest lockdowns in mid-March.

Turnout was just 40.5%, interior ministry data showed.

The weak performance of Macron's La Republique en Marche will prompt much soul-searching for the president, who in the run-up to the vote said he wanted to reinvent his presidency with two years left in his mandate.

Early in his presidency, Macron's left-wing opponents derided him as a 'president of the rich' as he eased taxes on companies and relaxed worker protections as he enacted reforms to liberalize France's regulation-choked economy.

The reforms were bearing fruit: growth was robust among euro zone peers and stubbornly high unemployment was falling.

But the past three years have been mired in social unrest and the pandemic's impact is reversing some of Macron's hard-fought gains, as disillusion among the leftist faction of his party grows.

Source : VOA

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