The French far right has failed to win any regions, while President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist ruling party suffered another poll in the second round of regional elections again marked by unfortunate turnout, according to exit polls.
Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) did not achieve its main ambition of winning the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region which includes Marseille and Nice.
Victory there would have given RN control of a region for the first time and was seen by the party as the best prospect to give credibility to Le Pen’s claim that he was fit for power before the 2022 presidential election.
An exit poll by the FIFG showed that the far right won 44.2% of the second-round votes in PACA compared to 55.8% of the main conservatives.
A second Opinionway poll showed that the far right got 45% of the vote compared to 55% of its rivals.
In another contest in the northern Hauts-de-France region, exit polls showed that the center-right ticket led by Conservative Xavier Bertrand, another presidential candidate, was heading for a comfortable victory over the far right.
In a post-results speech, Le Pen said: “Today everything must be debated to restore to our compatriots the desire to decide their future. I am more than ever determined to put all my energy and my will to rehabilitate politics, to make it useful in the service of the French. “
📹 “Everything must be debated today to give back to our compatriots the desire to decide their future. I am more than ever determined to put all my energy and my will to rehabilitate politics, to make it useful in the service of the French “. # Regional2021 pic.twitter.com/lUbE7hCeRC
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 27, 2021
Senior Conservatives said the strong performance of the center-right nationally meant it was the force of change.
“The far right has stopped and we have abruptly pushed it back,” Bertrand told his followers moments after the polls closed.
“This result gives me the strength to seek the nation’s vote,” Bertrand said, alluding to next year’s election.
If the projections are confirmed, they will raise questions about the success of Le Pen’s strategy of softening the image of his Eurosceptic anti-immigration party to try to eat the traditional right-wing vote.
Still, analysts say Le Pen and his party’s apparent failure to win in two of its strengths should not be extrapolated to next year’s presidential election.
French journalist Pierre Haski told Al Jazeera that far-right voters tend to go to the polls in higher numbers than in other sectors of the electorate because they tend to be more motivated, but that did not happen at the polls. Sunday.
“[Le Pen] it counted on this gap between the motivation of its voters and the apathy of the rest of the voters. And that didn’t happen and he will have to answer questions from his own party about the reasons for this disappointment, ”Haski said.
Electoral turnout in the 13 regions of the country was very low and voters usually have little affinity with their regional administrations which are responsible for promoting economic development, transport and secondary schools.
“I don’t really know what the point is,” Helene Debotte, 31, told AFP news agency.
He said he would not vote in these polls, but in the presidential election. “There, it’s clear what’s at stake.”
Surveys have shown that most French people do not know who leads their regions and what organizations do.
Error for Macron
Exit polls made a nasty read for Macron and his Republic on the Move (LREM), which confirmed the party’s failure to take local and regional roots despite controlling the presidency and lower house of parliament.
The IFOP estimate predicted that his party would get only seven percent nationwide in the vote.
LREM leader Stanislas Guerini admitted the election was a “disappointment for the presidential majority”.
Despite sending several ministers to the campaign and Macron himself embarking on a nationwide tour (which at one point was slapped by a member of the public), in some regions the party failed to raise the required 10% to make the second round.
The LREM has no chance of gaining control of a single region and is currently only the number five political party in France.
The Socialists were in the process of retaining several regions, in part due to second-round pacts with the far-left France Unbowed Party and Green Europe Ecology-The Greens.