Will there be an upset in the upcoming election?

20 June 2021 is the date of the French regional elections

20 June 2021 is the date of the French regional elections

What can they tell us about the presidential race next year?

The regional and departmental elections in France are just around the corner. They will happen on 20 June 2021. The race is for 1800 councillor seats in the country’s 18 regions and  4056 departmental councillors in 95 departments. Originally, the election was supposed to happen in March but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

Parties have to put forward lists featuring gender equality or they can risk getting fined

The regional election concerns 12 mainland regions, Guadeloupe and La Réunion.  The election is held every six years on a Sunday in every region simultaneously.

The first round will be on the 20 June, while the second – on the 27 June. The second round only takes place if no party gets 50% of the vote. Furthermore, only parties that receive more than 10% of the vote in the first round can take part in the second round.  

Public attention is rarely focused on these elections, as regional governments cannot write their own laws. As a consequence, voter turnout is usually low. Despite this, the regions manage substantial budgets that they invest into infrastructure, healthcare and education. Consequently, the way the money is spent can make a significant difference in the lives of the citizens.

These elections may give insight into the presidential race, set to take place in 2021

This is the last vote before the presidential election. For many presidents of regional councils, this can be a testing ground for a hypothetical bid for the presidency of France. It is a warm-up for the political parties as well as a chance to test out the popularity of different policies. One of these is Valérie Pécresse and her party “Soyons Libres”. She is the President of Île-de-France, the most populous region in the country, and home to the national capital Paris.

The current prognosis for the presidential election is for a fierce battle between Emmanuel Macron’s “La République En Marche!” and Marine Le Pen’s party – “National Rally”. Currently, neither party controls any of the regional governments.

A very important note is that the election is taking place during a pandemic period and a record abstention is expected this year. We may see major upsets, however, it is hard to predict anything for certain.

Finally, today take place also elections to the departmental councils in 95 departments. The departments (an entity between the municipality and the region) is responsible for solidarity, social action, health, sustainable territory management, education, culture and sports.

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