Le Pen hopes the French regional vote will give her a taste of strength

French voters headed to the polls on Sunday for regional elections that will give Marine Le Pen’s far-right national rally a taste of strength ahead of next year’s national elections, where it is expected to become The main challenger Current President Emmanuel Macron.

Opinion polls have indicated that the National Front will take the lead in six of France’s 13 European regions in the first round of voting, although trade between parties ahead of the second round on June 27 is likely to exclude the party from power in all regions except the south. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

However, Success on the French Riviera In the second round, if this is achieved under the leadership of GOP candidate Thierry Mariani, it will be the first time that the anti-immigration party has won a French region.

“This Sunday, you will have a historic opportunity to bring about a change in government that the country desperately needs,” said Le Pen He said on Twitter After campaign meetings across France.

With the left weakened and the center-right now divided between traditional Republicans and Macron supporters, Le Pen could do well in the final results even if the RN’s share of the total vote in the first round is only 28 percent. Achieved in 2015.

Mojtaba Rahman, managing director of Europe for the Eurasia Consulting Group, said Le Pen’s regional victory would be “a significant event in French political history, the first time the far right has controlled anything larger than a medium-sized city since the end of the Nazi-sympathetic Vichy regime in 1944.” “.

Managing a region like Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, with over 4 million inhabitants and large cities like Marseille and Nice, would give Le Pen “unprecedented opportunities to get around and make trouble in the next ten months before the first round of the presidential election” – And a warning that Le Pen’s victory over Macron in 2022 is no longer impossible, he said.

The provincial and district councils that the French vote for have limited powers, mostly over transportation and schools, and participation is expected to be low despite the vote’s importance as an indicator of national political trends.

The polling group Ipsos expected turnout to be only about 41 percent. “The French have their minds on other things entirely,” Ipsos’ Brice Tintorier said in a webinar last week. “We are emerging from the pandemic . . . and the outlook for the economy is much better.”

But Le Pen is likely to help make her mark with low turnout, and polls showing voters are more concerned with crime, immigration and unemployment than Covid-19.

“Abstaining from voting helps the most motivated electoral blocs, usually the extremists,” Francois Bayrou, an ally of Macron and head of the MoDem party, told LCI television.

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