France votes in delayed municipal elections

France is holding the second round of municipal elections in 5,000 towns and cities Sunday that had been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The voting to fill local offices in Paris and thousands of other places was suspended after the first round of the nationwide municipal elections on March 15th, which produced decisive outcomes in some 30,000 other mostly small communes, AP reports.

Voters are set to choose mayors and municipal councilors on Sunday at polling stations operating under strict hygiene rules. Face masks, soap or hand sanitisers and maintaining 1 metre between each person in lines are mandatory. Voters have been told to bring their own pens to sign the register.

The spread of the coronavirus has slowed significantly in France in recent weeks and almost all restrictions on social and business activity were gradually lifted over the last month. France has reported nearly 200,000 confirmed cases and 29,781 deaths in the pandemic.

But the virus is still expected to hurt Sunday’s turnout, as it did in March. Only 44.7% of voters, a record low, cast their ballots in the first round of the municipal elections.

The elections, though ostensibly focused on local concerns, are also seen as a key political indicator ahead of the 2022 French presidential election.

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