France Holds Final Round Of Local Elections


France started the final round of local elections on Sunday in some 5,000 municipalities, after it had started a gradual exit since mid-May from months-long restrictions in response to the spread of COVID-19.

The voting took place in 4,820 municipalities, as well as in the districts of Paris, Lyon and Marseille, where the councils were not elected outright in the first round held on March 15.

This second round, previously scheduled for March 22, was put off after the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

More than 157,000 candidates and 16.5 million voters are affected by this special ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic — a global health crisis which has claimed nearly 30,000 lives in the country.

With campaigns largely limited to media and social networks, massive abstention is looming again. Several polls have shown that six out of ten eligible French voters might not go to cast their ballots.

To boost participation and address concerns over infection, the electoral code has allowed any voter to stand proxy for two other voters from the same municipality, so that people at risk can vote without having to travel.

In addition, voters can also entrust a gendarme or a police officer with a proxy vote — another measure to facilitate voting.

In the first round, only 44.3 percent of voters came to polling stations due to the risk of contamination, compared to the figure of 63.5 percent in 2014.

As the next presidential election will be held in 2022, the local polls are widely seen as a test for President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist party “the Republic on the Move.”


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