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France: Parisians React to Local Election Held in Face of Coronavirus Pandemic

Residents of Paris reacted on Monday to the first round of nationwide municipal elections held a day earlier amid the coronavirus pandemic. The French president is scheduled to address the nation this evening to potentially announce a tighter lockdown and, as many residents believe, call off the second round of the elections.

In the first round in Paris, incumbent Mayor Anne Hidalgo clinched 30 percent of the votes, according to exit polls, eight percentage points ahead of her main challenger, Rachida Dati. The local elections had a record high abstention rate, as early estimates suggest that less than half of voters showed up at the polls.

Several locals interviewed expressed dismay that the elections were held in the first place, given the widespread containment measures in force to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“[Maintaining the elections] is above all risking massive abstention, which has taken place, so it distorts the elections. And since we don’t know if we’re going to do the second round, I don’t see the point of having done the first one,” said one local.

“I’m sure the second round will be canceled this evening. I believe the president is scheduled to make a speech this evening, I am sure it will be called off,” said another.



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