Châteaudun voted again as the whole of France | International

Counting of votes at a polling station in Châteaudun, this Sunday.
Counting of votes at a polling station in Châteaudun, this Sunday.OSCAR CORRAL (THE COUNTRY)

Châteaudun did not vote exactly like France, but almost. Once again the small city on the banks of the Loir, in the central region of the country, was a good thermometer of the national temperature. With all the votes counted, victory went to Emmanuel Macron (28.9%), followed by Marine Le Pen (24.9%). In third place, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, with 21%. As in the rest of France, the traditional right and the socialists collapsed.

The recount, centralized in electoral college number 1, the most central, was parsimonious. Like the whole day. In the morning any passer-by would confirm that it was Palm Sunday, because there were people who went to church or came from it with the twig in their hands. It was not so easy, on the other hand, to perceive that elections were being held. In Châteaudun there are no party headquarters or high political tension. There are also no queues at the polls. With a total census of 7,763 registered citizens and 11 schools, things are taking it easy. At noon, there were completely empty electoral headquarters, except for the members of the table. That they took advantage of the circumstance to eat the sandwich.

In reality, abstention was very high until six in the evening, an hour before the closing of the polls. In that last hour many stragglers appeared and the participation was similar to that of the whole of France.

One thing became clear from the moment the polls opened: in what locals often call “beyond the tracks”, the area where industries and the most modest homes are concentrated, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen are Masters. In the Pasteur 1 and Pasteur 2 schools, which serve a neighborhood with a relatively high immigrant population and two mosques, Mélenchon’s populist left won with more than 30% of the vote and second place went to the extreme right of Marine Le Pen, with 25%. Emmanuel Macron trailed a modest third, with just over 15%. The popular vote tends to extremes.

During the recount, in a room located between the City Hall and the municipal theater, there was a moment that caused some laughter: it was when, with piles of ballots already on the table, a vote finally appeared for the socialist Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris . The person who opened the envelope yelled “Hidalgo!” With surprise. It was noted with some astonishment that the polls had been correct and that the Socialist Party, once so powerful, had come to nothing. Literally nothing.

And something similar happened with Valérie Pécresse, the representative of The Republicans, almost tied with the far-right polemicist Éric Zemmour in the 6% bracket. Five years ago, the candidate of the Republicans, François Fillon, had reached 21.7% of the votes in Châteaudun, despite the discovery of a corruption case that affected both him and his wife and despite having developed a campaign very poor.

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Participation was the lowest since 2002 and both Macron and Le Pen improved the percentages obtained in the first round of 2017. Then, the current president obtained 26.6% of the votes and the leader of National Regroupment, 23.2 %. They did not add up to half of the ballots. This time, however, they far exceeded that half. “From the beginning of the campaign it seemed clear that both would go to the second round and probably many have opted for the useful vote”, commented one of those in charge of the scrutiny.

At school number 1 the results were greeted with relief. There were the mayor (center left), a few journalists, those responsible for the table, a couple of auditors (none from the extreme right) and a few dozen onlookers who watched the opening of the envelopes. “A Marine Le Pen victory seemed possible and that would have been very bad news,” commented a Macron voter.

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