The center-right Republic Party won the most votes in the first round of France’s regional elections, according to opinion polls on Sunday. The right-wing populist National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, has fared worse than expected and is heading for second place in many areas. This was reported by international news agencies.
Turnout in the first round of regional elections, seen as a rehearsal for next year’s presidential election, was particularly low, with less than 34 percent of voters going to the polls, a record low, according to polling agencies. Politicians from left to right called voters to attend the second round on June 27.
Les Républicains can count on 27.2 percent of the vote, a comeback after its poor result in the 2017 presidential election. The National Rally came in with 19.3 percent. The Green Party came in third place, according to opinion polls, followed by the Socialists.
President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La Republique en Marche, came in fifth with 11.2% of the vote – a very disappointing result for his party, which did not participate in the previous regional elections in 2015 and had hoped for a breakthrough at the regional level.
A distorted electoral reality
Le Pen, who had hoped to cement her place as Macron’s potential rival in the 2022 presidential election, has expressed frustration with low turnout, which polls have attributed in part to good weather and an end to the months-long shutdown. According to Le Pen, the low turnout is a “civil disaster” that “distorts the electoral reality of the country.”
Parties with more than ten percent of the vote advance to the second round, which determines the number of seats they win in regional councils.