Will vote? Will not vote? Participation will be crucial, Sunday, June 27, in the regional after a record abstention in the first round which favored the outgoing Socialist Party (PS) and The Republicans (LR), and that the National Rally (RN) hopes to conjure to win the first region of its history, one year from the presidential election.
Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. in mainland France. Some 48 million voters are called to the polls until 6 p.m., 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. depending on the municipality.
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region will be particularly scrutinized, with the only duel of the 13 metropolitan regions, which promises to be tight between the enemy brothers Thierry Mariani (ex-LR now RN) and Renaud Muselier (LR) .
But nothing is decided after a first round rich in lessons: bonus for graduates of “The old world” PS-LR, Elysian ambitions sharpened to the right, a “republican front” – or not – facing an RN well below the forecasts of pollsters and a flop of the Macronist majority. And if the negotiations have heated up the staffs of the parties this week, the voters, solicited from all sides, remain to be convinced, in a context of health crisis which imposes a strict health protocol (mask, freezing, safety distance).
Pollsters only predict a slight rebound in the second round while two out of three French people (66.7%) shunned the ballot box in the first round, making forecasts on the state of opinion for this Sunday – and beyond for 2022 – fragile. “I find it hard to see a mobilization that would upset the balance of power established in the first round, even if there is often a little more participation in the second round than in the first, as was the case in 2015”, Romain Pasquier, CNRS research director, explains to AFP.
However, voters are not lacking in choice to appoint the 13 metropolitan regional executives, responsible for many aspects of their daily life (transport, school buildings, business support, etc.). Three triangular (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie, Hauts-de-France), seven quadrangular (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Center-Val de Loire, Grand-Est, Ile-de-France, Normandy, Pays de la Loire, Corsica), and even two quinquangulars (Brittany, New Aquitaine) are there.
In addition to a fragmented political landscape, this situation also reflects local alliances of variable geometry: left and ecologists united in Ile-de-France, Center-Val de Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, but not in Brittany or New Aquitaine by example.
The classic right heaves a sigh of relief: it was said to be promised to nothing between the RN and La République en Marche (LRM), the first round proved that it is still doing well in the regions it holds. But she could find herself on Sunday evening facing her old demon: having to decide between the national ambitions of three outgoing region presidents in pole position in their baronies: Xavier Bertrand (Hauts-de-France), Laurent Wauquiez (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) ) and Valérie Pécresse (Ile-de-France).
On the left, a low-water PS in the national ballots also comes out of the first round, with in particular its outgoing presidents Carole Delga (Occitanie), Alain Rousset (New Aquitaine) or Loïg Chesnay-Girard (Brittany) well placed.
The complex arithmetic of the voting system could, however, complicate the result in these last two regions where quinquangulars take place: if the premium to the top list (a quarter of the seats to be filled) is not sufficient to have a majority , alliances will have to be formed.
The majority lagging behind
Environmentalists, allied to the left, are eyeing a possibility of victory in the Pays de la Loire, where their candidate Matthieu Orphelin (ex-LRM) faces the outgoing LR Christelle Morancais at the end of an acrimonious campaign between the two candidates.
The presidential formations, for their part, do not have much to expect from this second round. Absent in the first round in PACA, eliminated in Hauts-de-France or Occitanie, the Macronist majority is lagging behind in the regions where it is still in the running.
Also listen Regional: the challenges of the second round
In the shadow of these regional, the departmental were logically marked by an equivalent massive abstention, and outgoing teams from the classic right and left parties largely in the lead in the first round. The RN, however, hopes to progress in the Pyrénées-Orientales, where it directs the capital of Perpignan. The PCF for its part is in a difficult situation in its stronghold of Val-de-Marne.
Overseas, this second round concerns Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana and Mayotte, according to their own territorial organization.