French elections: Greens hope to win first region in 30 years

Focus in this Sunday's final round of voting is on a few close-run races in Pays de la Loire in west and in Île-de-France.

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The French Green party has stepped up campaigning in the Pays de La Loire in the hope of narrowly winning its first region in almost 30 years in the final round of elections this Sunday, reports The Guardian

But after a record abstention rate in last week’s first round of French regional and local départmentales elections – where over 66% of voters failed to turn out across the country – traditional rightwing candidates were expected to hold on to the majority of regions.

The focus this weekend is on a few close-run races. The Greens have teamed up on a single ticket with Socialists and other leftwing parties to try to overturn the right in two key regions: Pays de la Loire in the west of France and in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally is in the spotlight in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur (Paca), where her candidate, Thierry Mariani, topped the poll in the first round. If the party wins control of its first ever region, it would be a political earthquake and a springboard for Le Pen’s presidential bid next spring.

But the left has pulled out to leave the path clear for the mainstream rightwing candidate, Renaud Muselier, to block Le Pen’s party. Polls this week showed Muselier winning, but the race was so close it remained in the margin of error.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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