- In the regional elections in France, the right-wing National Rally party performed weaker than expected in the first round.
- According to Ipsos forecasts, Marine Le Pen’s party won 19.3 percent of the vote nationwide.
- According to forecasts, conservative Republicans (Les Républicains) are in first place with 28.4 percent.
- President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche (LREM) party had 10.6 percent in fifth place behind the Greens and Socialists (PS).
The National Rally, the former National Front of Marine Le Pen, incurred heavy losses in favor of voters in the first round of regional elections. According to the forecasts of France 2, the RN party took second place with about 19.3% of the vote.
In the regional elections in December 2015, Le Pen’s RN party won in the first round with 27.7 percent of the vote. However, the party has a chance this year to win a majority in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region for the first time.
According to forecasts, the strongest force will be the conservative bourgeois republican camp (Les Républicains) with 27.2 percent of the vote.
According to forecasts, the traditional Socialist People’s Party and its left-wing partners won about 16.5 percent of the vote. Besides civil rights, they currently represent the regional president in most areas.
The green camp had about 13.2 percent and was ahead of French leader Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche (LREM). Along with liberal allies, some of whom are better entrenched in the country, the party came in at around 11 percent, falling back in fifth place.
“Historically high abstention”
In regional elections, there is a very low turnout and therefore a record low probability. According to the Ministry of Interior, 26.72% of the 46 million eligible voters cast their ballots by 5 p.m.
Even in 2010, when there was the lowest participation in the first round of voting, according to official figures, the value at 5 pm was much higher at 39.29%. A recent study assumes that more than two-thirds of the population has stayed away from the polls.
With an estimated 31 to 34 percent, voter turnout is likely to have reached a historic low. The lowest voter turnout in the first round of regional elections was 46.3% in 2010. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described participation on Twitter as worrying.
Criticism of organizing elections
As the last nationwide decision before presidential elections in April and May, provincial and local elections are a test of mood.
The President of the Republicans, Christian Jacob, attacked the government on the TV channel TF 1 for organizing the elections. “There has never been such a mess before.”
According to media reports, some polling stations remained closed in Marseille that morning. There should have been problems with election workers. In the north of the country, ballot papers were said to be missing from an electoral office.
With elections, among other things, regional councils must be filled. The French regions have important competencies in the areas of public transport, education and economic development, but also in the social and cultural sector. The second round of voting will take place on June 27.