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The French far right obtained worse results than expected in Sunday’s regional elections (June 20), according to exit polls, leaving in the balance a victory on the southern battlefield of Provence-Alpes-Côte d ” Azur and a platform for the 2022 presidential election write Michel rose and Irish John.
Marine Le Pen’s (on the pictureThe National Rally expressed frustration at a record turnout, as the center-right returned to the polls for the first time since a disastrous performance in the 2017 presidential election and President Emmanuel Macron’s party has finished fifth.
The high abstention rate in Sunday’s first round vote, projected at 68.5% by pollster Elabe, coincided with a sunny Sunday and the emergence of months of severe COVID-19 restrictions.
“I can only regret this civic disaster which has greatly distorted the electoral reality of the country and given a misleading idea of the political forces at play,” said Le Pen.
“If you want things to change, go out and vote.”
An IPSOS poll at the end of the polls showed that the center-right Les Républicains won 27.2% of the national vote, ahead of the extreme right with 19.3%, followed by the Greens, the Socialist Party and La République en Marche de Macron with 11.2%.
For Le Pen’s far right, this is a drop of more than 7 percentage points nationwide compared to the last elections in 2015, following the Islamist attacks in Paris.
The regional elections, for which a second ballot will take place on June 27, offer a taste of the mood of voters on the horizon for next year and a test of Le Pen’s credentials.
She made a concerted effort to detoxify her party’s image and erode the ruling right-wing vote with a less inflammatory brand of Eurosceptic and anti-immigration populist politics.
In the northern Hauts-de-France region, Les Républicains did better than expected, according to exit polls, voting ahead of the far right with a wider margin than expected.
The party’s main candidate in the north, Xavier Bertrand, who presents himself as the Tory presidential candidate of 2022, said the center-right had shown himself to be the most effective bulwark against the far right.
Macron’s ruling party has done as badly as expected, with party spokeswoman Aurore Berge calling it a “slap in the face.” The president has failed to take root locally, although his popularity nationwide remains higher than his predecessors.
The Le Pen opinion poll project will be the highest in the first round of next year’s presidential election, propelled by a support base tired of crime, employment threats from globalization and a ruling elite seen as disconnected from ordinary citizens.
Le Pen’s party has never controlled a region before. If she wins one next week, it would send the message that a president of the National Gathering in 2022 cannot be ruled out.
Two exit polls showed that the National Rally finished first in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, but with a narrower margin than expected on center-right Renaud Muselier, who had entered into an alliance with the party of Macron.
However, the Greens’ candidate said he was maintaining his candidacy in the south, making the triptych more favorable to the far right.
The results of Sunday’s first round will send the parties behind the scenes for two days to forge alliances ahead of the second round.