CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
France’s final round of municipal elections have come to a conclusion and there are a few changes here in the PACA region. The first round took place on 15 March, just two days before beginning the lockdown due to the coronavirus. Both then and the 28 June second round resulted in much lower turnout than usual, for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, 40% of voters turned out last week to pick their local leader.
There was a bit of a ‘green wave’ across France but it didn’t quite spread across our gorgeous territory (for example in Lyon, Strasbourg, Besançon - previously it was only Grenoble), the Côte d'Azur remains mostly conservative, as usual. However, two cities will have ecologically oriented town hall heads in the next six years: Mouans-Sartoux, which has a long tradition of eco-left leadership (and was captured in the first round), and now Valbonne, where challenger Joseph Cesaro (Ecologiste, 45.46 %) defeated mayor Christophe Etoré (Divers centre, 28.92%) and his predecessor and still senator Marc Daunis (Divers gauche, 25.62%).
The second round of voting was only required in 20 per cent of all municipalities in the Alpes-Maritimes department. In 131 out of 163 towns and villages, the heads of town halls and municipal councils for the next six years were already appointed in the first round, including the impressive results for Cannes Mayor, David Lisnard who crushed his competition with 88% of the vote.
No surprise, in Nice, where celebrated Mayor Christian Estrosi (Divers droite, 59.31%) put his challengers Philippe Vardon (Rassemblement National, 21.39%) and Jean-Marc Governatori (Ecologiste, 19.3%) in their place. Menton also confirmed its long-time mayor in the second round: Jean-Claude Guibal (Union de la Droite, 55.7%) prevailed against his rival from the list Divers droite. Louis Nègres (Les Républicains, Cagnes-sur-Mer) also remains in office despite recent controversy over the bike lane along the promenade that caused the city complete gridlock.
New faces will be seen in Auribeau (with Michèle Paganin taking over from a woman), Le Bar-sur-Loup (François Wyszkowski), Carros (very close: Yannick Bernard, Divers droite), Peymeinade (Philippe Sainte-Rose Franchine, Divers), Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne (Christian Zedet, Divers), Saint-Jeannet (with Julie Charles also a woman, Divers), and Vallauris (Kevin Luciano, Divers). Saint-Paul-de-Vence had such a close race that incumbent Jean-Pierre Camilla won only by eight votes (780 vs 772). Challenger, Corinne Paolini, who could have become the village’s first woman mayor is challenging for a recount.
In the Var, citizens from 41 municipalities were called upon to elect their future mayor in a second ballot. Voter turnout was around 44 per cent. In round one, candidates in Draguignan, Saint-Raphael, Fréjus, Sainte-Maxime, Grimaud, Bormes-les-Mimosas and Brignoles, for example, had already received an absolute majority.
Less than one per cent of the votes went to the Greens and the ecologists, and consequently, no municipality will be run by them in the future. On the other hand, there are two places where the extreme right received the most votes: In Fréjus, the former mayor David Racheline (Rassemblement National), with 50.61 per cent of the votes, was able to defend his office in round one against two competitors, while in Cogolin his colleague Marc Etienne (Extrème Droite, 58.02%) won yesterday.
Jean-Pierre Tuveri (Divers droite, 41.68%) was re-elected in Saint-Tropez, who still had two opponents. In Hyères, as well, the previous head of the council Jean-Pierre Giran (Les Républicains, 48.20) won again.
A historic turnaround, as the local press put it, has taken place in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume: With Alain Decanis (Divers gauche), a left-wing mayor will rule here – something seen in only four other communes of the Var (Pierrefeu-du-Var, La Cadière-d'Azur, Saint-Zacharie and Salernes). There is also a new face at the top of the municipal council in La Seyne-sur-Mer: Nathalie Bicais (Divers droite, 44.12%) has won the race here. Her left-wing predecessor Marc Vuillemot received only 33.44 per cent of the votes. Roquebrune-sur-Argens also has a new mayor in Jean Cayron (Divers centre, 56.74%).
In Marseille, Michèle Rubirola, the candidate of the left, takes over the helm from Jean-Claude Gaudin, who is no longer mayor. The doctor who stands for green ideas received 39.9 per cent of the vote, ten percentage points more than her closest rival Martine Vassal (Les Républicains, 29.8%).
In Aix-en-Provence, the name of the old and new mayor is Maryse Joissains-Masini (Union de la droite), who finished yesterday with 43.53 per cent of the votes.
Overall, the left (Union de la gauche) won the most votes in the second round in Bouches-du-Rhône department (27.87 per cent), ahead of the Republicans (22.1) and the extreme right Rassemblement National (12.7).