New survey adds to Hollande’s woes

As candidates prepare for second round of elections, poll reveals majority of French people want a new Prime Minister

25 March 2014

PRESIDENT François Hollande has returned from a G7 meeting in the Hague under intense pressure following the first round of voting in the 2014 municipal elections.

A BMV poll published today reveals that 79% of people in France believe he needs to reshuffle his government, while 69% think Jean-Marc Ayrault should be replaced as Prime Minister following Sunday’s ballot.

The call for change comes as Mr Ayrault’s popularity falls to record lows. Just 28% of those polled during the first round of voting believed he is doing a good job.

The French government as a whole has not impressed voters. A total 83% think it is “ineffective”.

The results of the survey were published as negotiations take place between rivals in the first round of the elections, ahead of today’s 6pm deadline for electoral lists to be submitted to local prefectures.

In Paris, the PS and EELV have already agreed to merge their lists to give mayoral candidate Anne Hidalgo a stronger chance of winning the second round.

A similar alliance has formed in Nantes, where Mr Ayrault was once mayor.

Meanwhile, Patrick Mennucci and Jean -Marc Coppola announced yesterday afternoon that they would merge their lists for the second round in eight areas of Marseille.

PS secretary Harlem Désir yesterday warned its candidates in towns and cities where the FN could win the second round to withdraw in favour of better-placed rivals or lose the party’s support. He was speaking in particular to PS candidates in Perpignan, Béziers and Fréjus.

The UMP’s president, Jean-François Copé, has said all its candidates will enter the second round on Sunday. He insisted, however, that there would be “no deal with the Front National”, and said that any candidate who did so would be “immediately excluded”.

Meanwhile, the director of the Avignon festival has warned that the event could be moved to another city if the Front National wins the second round of elections there on Sunday.

Olivier Py, who is in charge of the summer’s major tourist attraction for the first time, told France Info that he found it “unimaginable” to work with an FN mayor.

He said: “I do not see how the festival could survive in Avignon with a Front National mayor.”

FN candidate Philippe Lottiaux was ahead after the first round in Avignon, with nearly 29.64% of the vote, ahead of socialist Cecile Helle, who polled 29.54%. The difference between the two was 27 votes.

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