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PARIS – Left and right mainstream parties came out on top in the French regional elections on Sunday, leaving both Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally behind, according to polls.
According to an exit poll by Elabe, left-wing parties received 34 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent of the vote for the right and 19 percent for the Reich Assembly. La République en Marche received 10.9 percent of the vote, and in some regions Macron’s candidates failed to run in the second round of voting.
It suggests that voters have largely chosen to support the outgoing regional council presidents, who are mostly from left and right mainstream groups.
Ten months before the French 2022 presidential election, the regional elections are seen as a major guiding star for the national sentiment, as the country has been through coronavirus lockdowns for over a year.
In the northern Hauts-de-France region, conservative presidential hopeful Xavier Bertrand received 41 percent of the vote for CNews, compared with 26 percent for the National Rally, according to an OpinionWay poll.
In a statement on Sunday evening, Bertrand triumphantly declared that he “broke the jaw” of the National Rally.
OpinionWay’s exit poll also found that candidates for La République en Marche received less than 10 percent of the vote. This marks a humiliating defeat for Macron, who dispatched five ministers to run for office in the region to improve results.
If the results are confirmed by the closing balance, the results on Sunday will also be a disappointment for the supporters of the right-wing national rally. Le Pen hoped to win at least one regional council – a victory that would give her party much-needed credibility.
The race in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is closer than expected, where Le Pen had hoped for a clear victory. A poll by OpinionWay for CNews found that the National Rally candidate received 33 percent of the vote. This puts Thierry Mariani from the right in front of the right-wing candidate Renaud Muselier, who is also supported by the LREM, with 30 percent. But another survey put Mariani and Muselier head to head.
The regional elections will take place in two rounds, with the candidates receiving more than 10 percent of the vote in a runoff on June 27th.
After the first round of voting on Sunday, the parties have until Tuesday morning to form alliances and register their lists of candidates for the second round of voting.
In 2015, the Left received 36 percent of the vote, ahead of the Conservatives with 32 percent of the vote and the then Front National with 27 percent of the vote. La République en Marche had not yet come into being.