Everything you need to know about the second round of regional polls

French President Francois Hollande casts his ballot for the second-round in the regional elections in Tulle on Sunday.
French President Francois Hollande casts his ballot for the second-round in the regional elections in Tulle on Sunday. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

People in France are set to vote today in the second round of regional elections. More than 44 million people are eligible to cast their ballots, but one of the biggest unknowns of these elections is the turnout. RFI tells you everything there is to know about today’s vote.


- What are the French voting for today?

Voters in France are heading to the polls to elect their regional councils. Local regional councils mainly deal with transport, education and regional investment.

Today is the second round of the elections - the first round saw the Far Right Front National come first with 28% of the vote, right wing Les Républicains second with 27% and the ruling socialist party third with 23%. The FN topped the vote in six of the 13 regions.

- Why are these local elections interesting?

These elections come after a much debated territorial reform that saw the numbers of regions go from 26 to 13, making quite uncertain the outcome of the vote. Today’s vote also comes just one month after the deadly Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.

And what we saw in the last month is that the campaigning focused, not on local issues, but on national issues: namely immigration and security. Interestingly enough, there’s little a regional council can do about unemployment or security.

- Why is everyone talking about the Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie region this week?

First because of who came first during last Sunday’s first round of the elections. Front National’s Marine Le Pen took the lead with 41% of the vote, while Les Republicain’s Xavier Bertrand did 21% and socialist Pierre de Saintignon came third with 18%.

Whoever wins tonight will have a huge task ahead of him or her. While Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie is the second largest region in France, it is also the poorest. That’s why unemployment is one of the issues that has taken centrestage in the region. The region's unemployment which stands at 12.5 per cent, is above the national average of 10.2.

- What should we expect from the vote?

 We can’t give you any numbers, polls or indications. France has been in a “periode de reserve”, or a blackout, since last Friday at midnight when the campaign officially ended. However, you can still access articles published earlier this week on the subject.

What can be talked about is the turnout. Last weekend, less than half of those eligible to vote cast their ballots, making it one of the worst turnouts in recent French history.

In Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie however, 55 per cent of the voters showed up at the polls.

Polls opened this morning at 8.00 and will close at 20.00 in big cities tonight, during which time 45 million voters can cast their votes.

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