President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party is set to keep the mayoral post in Paris after a first round of local elections, exit polls showed Sunday, despite a general slide in support nationwide.
Both opposition conservatives and the French far-right scored higher than expected, setting up the Socialist (PS) party to lose key cities in the second round next Sunday, on March 30.
On a national level the French people’s disillusionment with the ruling socialists made its mark, with the left-wing block drastically slipping behind the right-wing opposition, with 43 percent against 48 percent according to a BVA poll.
The far-right National Front scored seven percent – far higher than its 0.9 percent result in the first round of 2008 municipal polls.
Hidalgo edging out right-wing rival
Although conservative rival Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet of the UMP party garnered more Parisian votes overall, Socialist Anne Hidalgo is set up to win over a greater number of key districts – an electoral procedure reserved for the mayoral post in France’s largest cities.
In Marseille, France’s second city, incumbent Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin of the UMP took 40 percent of the vote, according to an Ifop poll for French TV station i>Télé, ahead of National Front candidate Stéphane Ravier (22 percent) and Socialist Patrick Mennucci (20 percent).
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-03-23