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France to hold delayed 2nd round of municipal elections on June 28

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-22 20:35

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presents the details of the health procedures to be adopted during the mayoral elections expected to take place at the end of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown period, at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, May 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - France has decided to organize the delayed second round of mayoral elections on June 28, which Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday is "reversible" if the coronavirus epidemic situation turns against it.

"On May 27, we will present a decree calling voters to the polls on June 28," Philippe said at a joint press conference with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

Of France's 35,000 cities, towns and villages, about 30,000 already elected their mayors in the first round on March 15. But many large cities are among those remaining, including Paris, Lyon and Marseille, according to state-owned broadcaster France 24.

The second round of mayoral elections was originally planned on March 22, but the worsening coronavirus outbreaks and the anti-coronavirus lockdown had forced the French government to postpone it.

Philippe admitted that consultations with opposition representatives did not reach consensus but the government has to take responsibility and "the democratic life should resume."

However, if the epidemic unfortunately rebounds, the polls will be postponed until next January at the latest, he added. The opinion of the government's scientific advisory council will be heard two weeks ahead of the scheduled voting.

Castaner announced that wearing a mask and washing hands with hydroalcoholic gel would be compulsory for voting on June 28 and this material will be supplied by the communities assisted by the State.

As of Thursday, France's death toll from coronavirus topped 28,000 while new infections and patients in intensive care continued to decrease. Since May 11, the country has gradually eased restriction measures on business activities and people's movement with the aim to relaunch the hard-hit economy.

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