Paris – After being postponed twice due to the Corona pandemic, as it was scheduled to take place last March, the first round of the French regional elections kicked off today, Sunday, with the second round to be held on June 27.
The preliminary figures provided by the Ministry of Interior were characterized by a weak participation rate of about 12%, as of midday today.
These elections are an accurate compass for the participation of French voters and their orientations in drawing the future political map, and monitoring alliances, blocs and instant partisan maneuvers, especially since the country is less than a year away from the presidential elections.
These elections are held in all parts of the country, except for the cities of Paris and Lyon, where the municipal councils in these two cities carry out the functions of the advisory council, which negates the necessity of having regional councils in them.
As confirmed by the organizing authorities and previous media reports, the winning representatives will spend 6 years in their term.
But with the 2027 election schedule crowded, the winners of this election cycle will spend a little longer, until March 2028.
Since its inception in 1986, regional elections have always witnessed some kind of political shock and mostly reflect the trends of voters in cities and interior regions.
In contrast to 171 electoral lists submitted in 2015, 155 electoral lists were presented in this session, with the participation of 19,084 candidates, while the number of candidates 6 years ago exceeded 21,000.
The tasks of the provincial councils are distributed to providing and supervising public services such as transportation, education, health and culture services, as well as recreational activities and family assistance funds, as well as health and social security.
County councils also have jurisdiction over many services and facilities such as middle schools, welfare benefits, water utilities, and fire brigades.
Low participation rate
And just as Ifop expected, in its poll published last week, where 54% of registered voters said they intended not to vote on Sunday, preliminary figures for this election showed a “very low turnout”.
The initial participation rates show a marked decrease compared to the 2015 elections, for example, which recorded a participation rate of 16.27% at the same time, while the participation rate was 16.07% in 2010.
On a regional level, the same figures provided by the Ministry of Interior until midday today showed the continued lack of turnout at the ballot boxes, especially among young people.
The low turnout may reflect and confirm the “serious breaches” that several civil society organizations and local officials have previously condemned.
These organizations published a joint statement saying that “the failure of the national general election service is unacceptable and can only fuel abstentions.”
BFM TV confirmed that about 40 polling stations were not opened for voters in Marseille, in addition to the delay in opening some offices until midday.