French regional elections: Voters stay away as Macron suffers bad night

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French regional elections: Voters stay away as Macron suffers bad night
French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a mask, enters a polling booth as he votes at the polling station in Le Touquet, during the first round of the French regional elections on June 20, 2021. (Photo by CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL / AFP)

The first round of France's regional elections on Sunday were marked by a record low turn-out, a sluggish performance from Marine Le Pen's far-right party and a bad night for the president Emmanuel Macron.


Voters, albeit not many of them, headed to the polls on Sunday for the first round of voting for regional presidencies in France's 13 regions and five overseas territories.

Keenly observed as the last elections before the presidential vote in 2022, in fact the big winner was abstention with a massive 66 percent of the population not bothering to vote at all.

That marked highest abstention rate recorded in recent French history for any type of election.

Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National party had been hoping to stamp its mark in the first round, but instead saw the vote share fall in many areas compared to the last regional elections in 2015.


The party did, however, finish ahead in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

The rest of France was divided between candidates for centre-left and centre-right coalitions.

The centre-right president of the greater Paris region of Île-de-France Valerie Pecresse was on course to be re-elected in next week's second round. Her colleague in Les Republicains party Xavier Bertrand, who will run for president in 2022 was also in pole position to be re-elected in the northern region of Hauts de France.

As was forecast President Emmanuel Macron's La République en Marche party, formed in 2016, performed poorly. LREM candidates in many regions did not make it through to the second round of voting. 

Candidates ran on anti-mask, anti-lockdown or Covid-sceptic platforms in several regions and all did extremely badly, with none scoring more than one percent of the vote.

You can find the full results by region HERE.

The second round of voting takes place on Sunday, June 27th, when voters head back to the polls to vote on the highest scoring candidates from the first round. 


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