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Hidalgo re-elected as Paris mayor as greens claim key cities

Anne Hidalgo won a second term as mayor of Paris following the second round of municipal elections.
Anne Hidalgo won a second term as mayor of Paris following the second round of municipal elections. RFI/Edmond Sadaka
4 min

Anne Hidalgo swept back into power as mayor of Paris on Sunday night following the delayed second round of municipal elections in France that brought key cities such as Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg under a green remit.

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The 61-year-old year old Socialist party candidate who has pumped an environmentalist agenda into the Parisian DNA, saw off the challenge of the former justice minister Rachida Dati and the government-backed ex-health minister Agnès Buzyn.

“Parisians have chosen hope and togetherness,” said Hidalgo who won her first term as mayor in 2014.

“Parisians have chosen a Paris that can breathe and is more pleasant to live in. Parisians have chosen a Paris which is based on solidarity and doesn’t exclude.”

LaREM battered

In a savage night for President Emmanuel Macron’s LaREM ruling party, an estimated 40 percent of the 16.5 million eligible voters turned out for the poll. And major cities such as Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg waved in mayors from the Europe Ecologie Les Verts party (EELV) which advocates an environmentally-friendly agenda.

Grégory Doucet wrested Lyon from the influence of Macron’s former interior minister Gérard Collomb who had reigned for 20 years in the south-eastern city.

Collomb’s hand-picked successor, Yann Cucherat, a former international gymnast, lost out to 46-year-old Doucet’s EELV/left-of-centre coalition.

“Lyon has chosen ecology,” said Doucet. “We are now going to do what we have said. But nothing can be done without the men and women of Lyon.”

Bordeaux goes green

EELV’s Pierre Hurmic came in ahead of Nicolas Florian (LR/LaREM) in Bordeaux to end 73 years of right-of-centre rule.

Hurmic said: "This is a historic victory but I always thought Bordeaux was ready for an ecology party."

The 64-year-old lawyer added: "I will accept this win without arrogance but with pride. Anyone who knows me will know that I will be a humble mayor."

EELV's Jeanne Barseghian pulled off one of the coups of the night by taking Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, with 42.5 percent of the vote. 

The 39-year-old said she was proud of the result. “I am well aware of the work that I have to do on behalf of the people of Strasbourg,” she added. Alain Fontanel of LaREM was second.

“We have gone through a disappointing evening,” said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye. “There are places such as Lyon where our internal divisions have led us to some difficult results.”

She said Macron’s LaREM party had to work hard to patch up differences.

PM elected mayor of Le Havre

As the greens gorged on the government’s problems, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe won the race to be mayor in the north-western port city of Le Havre.

The 49-year-old claimed 58.8 percent of the vote to take up a job he held between 2010 and 2017 before becoming Macron’s right-hand-man.

The communist candidate Jean-Paul Lecoq came second.

“The voters have shown their confidence in me and it is a great responsibility that I will take seriously,” said Philippe. “It is clear that this will be taken seriously.”

Moments after Philippe was anointed, Macron offered his congratulations by telephone.

The second round of elections were scheduled to take place in March but were postponed as France went into lockdown as part of its battle to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed nearly 30,000 lives in the country.

 

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