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Macron takes major hit in local elections

French President Emmanuel Macron suffered a major blow in municipal elections on Sunday (June 28) as the Greens celebrated victories in several big cities after a surge in support.

The elections are seen as a mid-term test for Macron, and he had hoped that wins would anchor his young La Republique en Marche party in towns and cities across France, ahead of an anticipated 2022 re-election bid.

Voter participation was low. Interior ministry data showed a turnout of just 40.5%.

Exit polls showed the Greens winning in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, building on the momentum created by their strong performance in France in last year's European Parliament elections.

France's 35,000 mayors set policy on issues including urban planning, education and the environment.

Macron has enacted reforms to liberalize the French economy - reforms which were bearing fruit.

But the past three years have been mired in social unrest and the pandemic’s impact is reversing hard-fought gains, as disillusion amongst the leftist faction of Macron's party grows.

The weekend's results will force some soul searching - the Green sweep may compel him to reshuffle his government to win back disenfranchised left-wing voters.