Pierre Hurmic is 65 years old and throughout his life (and almost another decade) the city of Bordeaux was ruled by the center-right. But this ecologist has just made history, winning the chamber of this French city, in one of the examples of the green wave that swept France in the second round of the municipal elections, which took place this Sunday.
Bordeaux, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nancy … The Europe Ecology – The Greens party (EELV in French) had several reasons to celebrate, in a election night when President Emmanuel Macron and his La République en Marche! (LREM) were the big losers.
Hurmic, who had the support of socialists and communists, defeated the current mayor, Nicolas Florian, of The Republicans, who had won in the first round and still had the support of the LREM. Florian had assumed the presidency in 2019, after the departure of former prime minister and mentor Alain Juppé, who has been in charge of the chamber since 2006.
“I am very sad,” Juppé told reporters outside the chamber building, when the defeat of Florian, who had been the favorite in the polls, was almost certain. “But what do they want? It is democracy. There is a green wave across France,” he added. Since 1947, first with Jacques Chaban-Delmas and then with Juppé, that the right always won on the first lap in Bordeaux.
“It is a historic moment to advance the ecological and social transition in terms of transport, nature, energy …” said Hurmic, who for several years was opposed to the Juppé government (he was a councilor since 1995). “I will be a full-time mayor,” he added in his victory speech, criticizing the former mayor, who held several ministerial portfolios while leading Bordeaux.
In Marseille, the second largest French city, the Greens won the largest number of seats in the municipal assembly, but the mayor’s office is not yet guaranteed because they did not have a majority, needing support from small political formations. The vote will take place later this week.
In Lyon, the country’s third city, veteran mayor and former socialist Gérard Collomb failed to get his successor, Yann Cucherat (representing Macron’s party), elected, with the victory for the ecologist Grégory Doucet .
In addition to the cities where they won, the Greens also helped the Socialists to win several chambers, such as that of the capital itself, Paris, where Anne Hidalgo was re-elected with almost 50% of the votes, thanks to the support of EELV.
The leader of the Greens, MEP Yannick Jadot, excludes the party from entering the Macron government, calling on the president to stop being in “ecological denial” and to apply “without filter” and “as promised” the 149 proposals of the Citizen Convention on the Climate, which he created in response to the yellow vest protests, which he receives precisely this Monday.
“Tonight won the desire for a concrete ecologism, an action ecologism,” said Jadot. The Greens imposed themselves on the vote as the main left-wing political force in France, “a sign of a political repositioning that is taking place in several countries in Europe, where ecologist parties, hitchhiking climate issues, have had more votes”, according to the French agency AFP.
Macron, who is due to carry out a government reshuffle in the next few days, said on Sunday that he intends to provide “strong responses” and “up to the challenges and expectations”. The president enters the last two years of his mandate and, after the municipal ones, ecological issues have to be part of the agenda, otherwise he will not be able to get reelected in 2022.
Abstention registered a historic level, with more than 60% of voters missing from the call to the polls, which led the president to express “concern about the low participation rate”.