France elections took place on Sunday, with Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) failing to win any seats. President Emmanuel Macron’s party also did poorly, but the centre-right Republicans and the Socialist Party both saw unexpected gains.
With only 35% of eligible voters casting ballots in Sunday’s elections, turnout was at an all-time low.
It comes ahead of the French presidential elections, which are set to take place in April of next year.
JUST IN: France's far-right National Rally has failed to win a single seat in regional elections, according to exit polls.https://t.co/hbyawyMR3X
— DW News (@dwnews) June 27, 2021
Mr Macron’s moderate La République En Marche (LREM) party did not win control of any area in the first round of regional elections last week.
The previous attempt of the moderate party was thwarted
President Macron’s party had never run in regional elections before, as it did not exist the previous time they were held in 2015.
The results on Sunday are a setback for Ms. Le Pen, who had anticipated that Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur would be her party’s first regional triumph as she looks to enhance her presidential campaign in 2022.
In Provence, however, RN candidate Thierry Mariani was defeated by Republican Renaud Muselier.
MrMuselier wrote, “Tonight we have decided the fate of a free region.” Left-wing candidates in the region withdrew from the election to aid him in defeating MrMariani.
Ms Le Pen accused her opponents of establishing “abnormal partnerships” in order to prevent her and her party from gaining power.
“[They] tried everything they could to keep us out and prevent us from demonstrating our ability to head a regional administration to the French,” she told supporters.
Possible victory of the Hauts-de-France region in the north
The Hauts-de-France region in the north, surrounding Calais, had been touted as a possible win for Ms Le Pen’s RN, but conservative Xavier Bertrand triumphed.
After the polls closed, he addressed his followers, “The far-right has been halted in its tracks, and we have pushed it back forcefully.”
Mr Bertrand’s victory will bolster his chances of being the Republican presidential nominee next year.
Almost all of the incumbent regional presidents who sought for re-election, whether on the left or right, won on Sunday.
The number of participants in the France Elections
Voter turnout was minimal, as it was in the first round of regional elections last week.
When polls opened for voting last Sunday, nearly 90% of the country’s youngest voters were absent.
The percentage of voters under 35 who did not vote was just marginally lower.
After a terrible showing in the first round, President Macron’s party was already ruled out of these elections.
Last Sunday, Marine Le Pen also did poorly, but she had hoped to win at least one region, which would have been a first and a boost to her presidential campaign.
It didn’t happen – her voters stayed away from the polls once again – and the hard right has been severely disappointed by these elections.
The mainstream right, whose candidates easily retained control of the territories they already governed, emerged victoriously. Former minister Xavier Bertrand, whose fiefdom is the northern Hauts-de-France area, is now an openly declared presidential candidate for next year.