France waiting for local election results
Sunday, March 23, 2014
PARIS - The participation rate in the first round of the two-round local municipal elections in France was around 55 percent, according to French Interior Ministry.
It is the first nationwide vote since Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president in 2012 and according to the Interior ministry, the allocated budget for these local elections is 117.6 million euros; 52 million of it reportedly used for election campaigns.
An estimated 44.5 million registered voters across France are expected to choose mayors and councilors in 36,700 towns, cities and villages from among 928,333 candidates.
Initial results could be published as early as 8pm local time as the voting stops at 6pm in small residential regions, 7pm in medium-sized residential regions and at 8pm in the big residential regions.
Throughout the day many high profile French figures have been seen casting their votes in different polling station across France, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni voting in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Elsewhere President François Hollande voted in Tulle, a municipality in central France where he was mayor between 2001 and 2008 while the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his wife voted in the election office in Nantes.
Also voting in Paris were the two candidates vying to be the first female mayor of the capital city. Socialist Party (PS) candidate Anne Hidalgo voted in the 15th arrondissement while her competitor, Nathalie Kosciusko Morizet, from the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) voted in the 14th arrondisement polling station.
The latest public opinion surveys seem to agree with what analysts have said that Hollande’s Socialist Party is facing large losses.
According to surveys, right-wing parties are likely to win more than 80 cities while the far-right, National Front, is predicted to win some 30 percent of the vote in the first round of the municipal elections largely due to party leader Marine Le Pen's reconciliatory tone, which is very different from her predecessor, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s (her father) polarizing style.
In the southern cities, some densely populated by Muslims, leftist parties are predicted to win a higher share of the vote.
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