Second round of French regional elections begin

France regional elections Daniel ColeAP
Photo: Daniel Cole/AP

The second round of voting in France’s regional elections begins today.

Voter turnout in last week’s first round of elections was far lower than expected with only one in three eligible voters casting their ballots. Low turnout amplified expected results, with President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche only earning 11.2% of the national vote and far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National earning 19.3%, several points less than expected.

Le Pen’s party is still expected to win the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, the first region in history that her party will control and a win which Le Pen will use as a launchpad for her 2022 presidential campaign.

Acting as an intermediate choice to Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National, Xavier Bertrand’s center-right Les Republicans has emerged as a strong and serious contender for national influence. Running on a conservative platform Xavier hopes to be the less extreme right-wing choice for voters in 2022’s presidential election. These elections are widely viewed as a preview of the upcoming 2022 presidential elections and if Le Pen is able to secure Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur today, it is very likely that the 2022 presidential election will be a race between the center-right and far-right.

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