Macron's centrist party swamped by "green wave" in municipal elections

France President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party took a beating on Sunday in municipal elections, as the Greens celebrated victories in several big cities after a surge in support.

Macron had hoped the elections would help anchor his young party in towns and cities across France, including Paris, ahead of his anticipated 2022 re-election bid.

But aides had more recently been playing down expectations and the sweeping wins by the Greens, who in some cities joined forces with leftist allies, may compel Macron to reshuffle his government to win back disenfranchised left-wing voters.

Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, won his bid to become mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre. Although the French constitution allows Philippe to name someone to act as mayor while he remains prime minister, his win deepens questions over his job as premier. Indeed, a government reshuffle is expected over the coming weeks.

Exit polls showed the Greens winning in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, building on the momentum created by their strong performance in France in last year’s European Parliament elections.

“It’s an incredible green wave,” said Yannick Jadot, Member of the European Parliament.

In Paris, the biggest prize of all, the incumbent Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrated victory after a shambolic campaign by Macron’s camp.

France’s 35,000 mayors set policy on issues from urban planning to education and the environment. While local factors typically drive voter choices, they give the electorate an opportunity to support or punish a president mid-mandate.

As expected, turn-out was low at just 40%.

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