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FRANCE

French voters go to the polls on Sunday 20 June in the first round of elections for the presidencies of France's 13 metropolitan regions, as well as Corsica and the five territories of overseas France. While these elections are not usually as closely watched as presidential, legislative, or municipal elections, they are the final nationwide test of party support ahead of next year's presidential election.

  • At present, of the 13 regional presidencies in metropolitan France (excluding Corsica and overseas France), four are held by the centre-right Gaullist Les Republicains (LR), five by the centre-left Socialist Party (PS), two by miscellaneous centre-right parties, and one by a miscellaneous centrist party.
  • Given the electoral system used for regional elections in France, it is very unlikely that any parties will win the presidency outright in the first round vote, with over 50% of the vote required to do this. The second round election will be held on Sunday 27 June, with any party receiving over 10% of the vote eligible to go through to the second round vote, where a simple plurality is required to win.
  • The major focus both in the first and second rounds will be the performance of Marine Le Pen's right-wing nationalist National Rally (RN). At present it does not control any regional presidencies, but polls show that it has a strong chance of taking the regions of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur in the far south-east and Grand Est in the north-east of the country.
  • The challenge for RN in the second round comes if parties of the left, centre-left, and the political centre ground unite behind a common candidate for the regional presidency in an effort to keep the far-right out.
  • For President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist Republique En Marche (REM), the election is likely to prove a difficult one, with polls showing his party on course to remain on zero regional presidencies. This comes amidst widespread apathy towards the Macron gov't, shown in flagging approval ratings and emphasised starkly last week when Macron was slapped in the face on a walkabout in the Drome departement of south-east france.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 | tom.lake@marketnews.com

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