Big win for Marine Le Pen’s party in municipal second round

The National Rally (RN), led by Marine Le Pen has won the municipalities of Perpignan, Moissac and Bruay-la-Buissière. Le Pen hailed “a real victory” for the party across the country.

On Sunday June 28, environmentalists were not the only big winners in France’s municipal elections. The National Rally also did well: Le Pen’s party conquered three new cities in 2020, “a real victory” according to the party’s leader.

In addition to Perpignan manned by Louis Aliot, who represents the best result of the party since Toulon in 1995, the RN imposed itself in Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne) and Bruay-la-Buissière (Pas-de-Calais), reported French daily Le Figaro. Sadly, the 7th arrondissement in Marseille, stronghold of Stéphane Ravier was lost, as well as Mantes-la-Ville (Yvelines) and Le Luc (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur).

For Louis Aliot, it was his third attempt. After two failures in 2008 and 2014, the deputy of the RN from Pyrénées-Orientales defeated his rival LR candidate Jean-Marc Pujol, collecting 53 percent of the votes, against 47 percent.

“The first message this evening is that the so-called ‘Republican’ front has fallen in Perpignan, and tomorrow it could fall elsewhere. This is an excellent message for the future,” the new mayor told public broadcaster France 2, after announcing his victory.

It is a huge victory for the RN, to which is added that of Moissac, in the Tarn-et-Garonne. The candidate for the RN Romain Lopez, 31, won with 62,55 percent against the leftist candidate Estelle Hemmam (37,6 percent).

In the first round, he had already ended the suspense by collecting more than 47 percent of the ballots. The youngest member of the National Assembly in 2017, Ludovic Pajot also became mayor of Bruay-la-Buissière (Pas-de-Calais) at 26 years old. He won against an independent candidate Bernard Cailliau.

To these new victories are added the overwhelming support shown for the RN during the first round in several cities. On March 15, David Rachline and Steeve Briois had already been re-elected mayor of Fréjus (Var) and of Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais). Julien Sanchez in Beaucaire (Gard), Franck-Briffaut in Villers-Cotterêts (Aisne) and Fabien Engelmann in Hayange (Moselle) had also triumphed on March 15, as did Robert Ménard, close to the RN, in Béziers (Hérault).

At the end of the second round, Marine Le Pen welcomed “a real victory” but also a “real breakthrough”.

“We will be able to demonstrate that we are capable of managing large communities, which obviously will be important given the departmental and regional deadlines”, argued the president of RN. “It is also the end of the ‘anti-Republican front’ in reality, that is to say the one which consisted in denouncing the National Rally only because it is the National Rally” , she added.

The second round of municipal elections, organised three months after the start of the Coronavirus crisis, was marked by a record abstention rate and two strong trends.

The abstention rate was also a big winner in these municipal elections: At least a 40 percent voter turn-out against 62,1 percent in 2014. Even the exceptional health precautions that had been taken (the compulsory wearing of mask in the polling stations, hydroalcoholic gel and priority to vulnerable people to vote), the French largely stayed away.

This meant an unprecedented victory for environmentalists: EELV won several major cities such as Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Besançon, Tours and Poitiers. Also an historic breakthrough.

The environmentalists were said to be moribund three years ago, with the victory of a centrist bloc led by Emmanuel Macron. Three years later, the Socialist Party and The Republicans showed with this ballot that a few local anchors remain with Anne Hidalgo reelected in Paris.

The presidential party however was the biggest loser in this election. LREM has recorded disappointing scores everywhere. Largely beaten in Paris and Lille, non-existent in certain big cities like Marseille and Bordeaux, the presidential party demonstrated that in fact it has zero local presence.

The only other exception to this was Prime Minister Edouard Philippe taking Le Havre. And even if he is not officially a member of La République en Marche (LREM), he serves as Macron’s premier.

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