France: In the Wake of Last Sunday's 'Green Wave'

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2138 ... July 4, 2020
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France: In the Wake of Last Sunday’s ‘Green Wave’

Ethan Earle

On Sunday, the 28th of June, voters across France went to the polls to decide the municipal governments of 4,820 communes, including all of the country’s largest cities.

The vote took place a record-breaking 100 days after the first round election, in which around 35,000 communes voted in the EU’s largest single municipal election. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a second-round delay -- leaving those municipal governments with no first round winner in a strange limbo at a critical moment -- all eyes were on these results and what they would portend for the future of French politics.

If you’ve seen a single headline about Sunday’s results, it probably alludes to a "green wave" having washed across France. Indeed, lead candidates associated with EELV-The Greens defeated right-wing incumbents in EU capital Strasbourg, third-largest city Lyon, second-largest city Marseille, and important port city Bordeaux, which had been held by the right for more than 70 years.

Looking beneath the surface, we see... that these victories were undergirded by widely differing political constellations. Despite a few Green-dominated bodies, most were much broader coalitions that included substantial support from Socialists and Communists, while in Marseille the sprawling Printemps Marseillais additionally includes France Insoumise and citizens’ movements, and is led by Michèle Rubirola, who was initially suspended by EELV-The Greens for demanding to run with such a broad coalition (which her party eventually joined).

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