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France reschedules virus-hit city elections for June 28

France's municipal elections, interrupted in big cities by the country's coronavirus lockdown, will if possible be completed on June 28, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday.

Paris, 22 May 2020 (dpa/MIA) – France’s municipal elections, interrupted in big cities by the country’s coronavirus lockdown, will if possible be completed on June 28, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday.

More than 30,000 French communes elected their councils in a first round of voting which went ahead, with some controversy and a high abstention rate, on March 15 – a day before President Emmanuel Macron announced a lockdown.

But Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and other big cities were among the almost 5,000 communes due to hold run-off votes on March 22, which were cancelled.

The first round was disappointing for Macron’s centrist La Republique en Marche (LREM), which came third in Paris and looks unlikely to win any major city.

Philippe admitted that a meeting with political parties on Wednesday had failed to reach consensus on going ahead with the second round, as France cautiously moves out of lockdown.

The country was one of the worst hit in Europe, with 28,215 deaths of Covid-19 patients as of Thursday.

But Philippe said that “democratic life” should resume along with economic, social and private life.

The decision was, however, “reversible,” he said, and would be reviewed in two weeks on the basis of the latest advice of the government’s scientific council on the coronavirus.

The council, in recommendations submitted on Monday, said it was still too early to evaluate the health situation in June.

It called for strict hygiene measures at voting stations if the elections went ahead, and warned of the risks of any campaigning.

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