- Title: Analyst predicts re-election for Paris mayor Hidalgo in all-female contest
- Date: 26th June 2020
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JUNE 21, 2020) (REUTERS) INCUMBENT SOCIALIST MAYOR OF PARIS, ANNE HIDALGO, ON BICYCLE DURING IN CAMPAIGN TRAIL
- Embargoed: 10th July 2020 14:58
- Keywords: Buzyn Dati France Hidalgo municipal elections political analyst
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001CK0BE4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CAN BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH EDIT 4157-FRANCE-ELECTION/MACRON WHICH CONTAINS ANALYST SOUNDBITES ON MACRON'S FAILED STRATEGY IN PARIS, FILE OF MACRON AND BUZYN
EDIT 5057-FRANCE-ELECTION/PREVIEW CONTAINS ANALYST BITES IN FRENCH AND INTERVIEWS WITH HIDALGO AND DATI/ 6031-FRANCE-ELECTION/PREPS WILL BE SENT ON JUNE 27, WITH VOX POPS AND SECURITY MEASURES IN VOTING PRECINCT
With a municipal election season fraught with disruptions and challenges posed by the new coronavirus pandemic, Paris' mayoral candidates are nearing the finish line of their campaign trails as voters are set to cast their ballots on Sunday (June 28).
Three women, who scored the highest during the mayoral election's first round in March, are facing off in the second round of votes, which has been delayed three months due to the health crisis, to snag the French capital's top political position.
On one corner is socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo, mayor since 2014 who led Paris, population 2.1 million, through major crises, including militant attacks, the burning of the Notre-Dame cathedral and the COVID-19 outbreak.
Placing their bids against her is right-wing contender Rachida Dati, a former minister in ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet, and former health minister Agnes Buzyn, who has the backing of President Emmanuel Macron.
For political analyst Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet, there is no doubt: Hidalgo will be re-elected.
"There' no chance for Hidalgo to lose this election," he said. "Her opponents are playing kind of a primary...they are fighting among themselves."
Moreau-Chevrolet attributes Hidalgo's success on her ability to fully unite Paris' left. Being the last bigwig representative of the Socialist Party since former president Francois Hollande left office, Hidalgo was able to align her camp with most left-wing groups, notably the Greens.
For the race, Hidalgo has focused her platform around the environment and ecological transition. She's highlighted her stint as president of the C40 network of global cities for the climate and boasted her accomplishments of encouraging more bikes, less cars and making the city more pedestrian friendly.
A poll conducted for French channel BFMTV published on Wednesday (June 24) showed her at an advantage, at 44 percent.
Dati and Buzyn trailed with 35 percent and 18 percent respectively.
The coronavirus crisis also gave Hidalgo an edge, Moreau-Chevrolet said, as she assumed an image of "the champion of Parisians" by fighting for more protective gear for health workers and locals.
When the strict lockdown was lifted on May 11, she urged the national government to re-open the city's parks so Parisians would not conglomerate on sidewalks.
Speaking beside her bike on the campaign trail on Sunday (June 21), Hidalgo said despite her lead in polls, she does not want to count her chicks until the eggs hatch.
While Hidalgo has emphasised ecology, her biggest opponent, Dati, has centred around security. The former justice minister and current mayor of Paris' 7th district has most notably called for arming municipal police.
While Moreau-Chevrolet credited Dati with a mayoral campaign that addressed relevant issues, he pointed at one big failure: she was unable to unite the city's right-wing voters, who now find themselves split between Dati's party, The Republicans, and opponent Buzyn's La Republique en Marche (LREM), led by Macron.
Appealing more with right-wing voters, Dati scored higher than Buzyn, her 22.7 percent against the other's 17.3 percent, in the race's first round of votes.
The fact that Buzyn left the health ministry in the midst of the coronavirus crisis didn't help her break ahead against Dati, and Moreau-Chevrolet said she entered the race at a disadvantage.
Dati's run could also just be a pretext to mount a 2026 mayoral campaign, Moreau-Chevrolet added.
Speaking at a market visit on the campaign trail in mid-June, Dati called on LREM voters to abandon ship and jump to her side.
For Moreau-Chevrolet, the fact that three women are vying for the mayoral position shows that calls for gender equality are bearing fruit in bigger cities such as Paris, although female mayors in French cities only represent 14 percent of the total figure and the system remains a "boys' club".
(Production: Noemie Olive, Thierry Chiarello, Ardee Napolitano)
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