In the runoff election on Sunday, the French will decide on the distribution of power in the regions. President Macron doesn’t have much to gain, unlike his far-right rival.
For the second time within a week, the French are called to the regional elections in the country. Since the turnout in the first round last Sunday had reached a historically low level of around 33.3 percent, politicians appealed to go to the polling station.
The regional elections are also seen as a test of the mood for the presidential election in ten months’ time. The favorites are Head of State Emmanuel Macron and right-wing populist Marine Le Pen. Their camps suffered a serious setback when they voted a week ago.
It should start early in the morning on the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The last polling stations in the overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique close at midnight (6 p.m. local time). The regional and departmental elections include appointments to the regional councils.
How is the Le Pen Party doing?
The performance of the Le Pen party Rassemblement National (formerly: Front National) is being watched with excitement. In the first round it received significantly less support nationwide than in 2015. But the RN candidate Thierry Mariani was ahead in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur. The right-wing extremist party has so far failed to win a region – according to observers, success could be a springboard for party leader Le Pen’s election battle for the highest office in the coming spring.
Civil rights and the socialists have so far held most of the regions in the country, something that is unlikely to change after the elections. President Macron’s LREM party did not manage to anchor itself in the regions – it has no chance of appointing a regional president.
For Macron, nothing can be won in the elections
“Ultimately, nobody needs him,” commented the daily newspaper “Le Figaro”, referring to the 43-year-old Macron, who started as a whiz kid in the Élysée Palace in 2017. The former investment banker set out to break the traditional left-right regime in French politics. The civil right is still looking for a candidate for 2022 – the course for this is likely to be set in the regional elections.
France’s regions have important competencies in areas such as public transport, education and business development. In the centrally organized neighboring country, however, their influence is limited compared to the German federal states. Because of the corona pandemic, the elections had been postponed by three months.