Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also notches up victory in polls marked by low turnout.
France’s Green party won big in Sunday’s second round of local elections, conquering cities including Strasbourg, Lyon, Bordeaux and Besançon, according to initial estimates by polling institute Ipsos.
While Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was handily reelected mayor of the northern city of Le Havre, President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “concern for the low turnout,” according to an Elysée official.
Turnout was historically low at 41 percent, according to estimates by Ipsos, with multiple factors discouraging voters such as the coronavirus pandemic, the unusual three months lapse between the first and second round of the elections due to the virus, and the good weather.
While results for a number of big cities were yet to come, the Green party was off to a promising start with some unprecedented wins.
“A woman in Besançon it’s very new and a very important signal,” said Anne Vignot, the Green mayor-elect of the eastern city. “We need something else politically… I hope it will be the signal of politics that will be done in a different way.”
Incumbent Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist, was handily reelected, winning nearly 50 percent of the vote, according to estimates, with Macron’s candidate, former Health Minister Agnès Buzyn only gathering 13 percent of the vote.
Philippe won 59 percent of the vote in Le Havre, with a 19 point lead over his challenger from the Communist Party, according to first estimates.
Philippe is facing an uncertain future at national level as he waits for Macron to decide whether he wants him to continue leading the government. Nevertheless, he has been enjoying his highest national approval ratings since July 2017, according to a recent Harris-Interactive poll.
Macron called Philippe after his win to congratulate him on his “beautiful win,” according to an Elysée official.
The far-right National Rally won Perpignan, the biggest city it has conquered since the 1990s, but failed in its goal of winning smaller towns in the North and Southeast.