PARIS’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo secured a second term in office on Sunday, roundly defeating her conservative rival Rachida Dati in France’s municipal elections.
The Socialist mayor’s victory will allow her to oversee the 2024 Summer Olympics. Hidalgo is backed by the Europe Ecology-The Greens Party (EELV), which saw a dramatic surge in several large cities. According to exit polls, the Greens and their leftist allies are expected to win Lyon and Marseille and are leading in the race for Bordeaux City Hall.
The biggest victory for the Greens, however, was in the northern city of Lille, where the party ousted former Cabinet minister Martine Aubry as mayor.
Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally claimed victory in the southern city of Perpignan, the first time that the anti-EU party took control of a French city with a population of more than 100,000 people since 1995.
Le Pen is also seen as Macron’s main challenger in the next presidential election expected to take place in 2022.
Sunday’s elections saw a record-low turnout, with only 40% of voters casting ballots. People voted wearing face masks, maintained social distancing while in line, and carried their own pens to sign voting registers.
The first round of the elections was held in March, just days before French President Emmanuel Macron declared a lockdown. The second round was scheduled for March 22 but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.