France holds local elections despite fears of Coronavirus

France went to the polls Sunday in nationwide local elections to choose all of its mayors and other local leaders despite a crackdown on public gatherings because of the Coronavirus.

Despite fresh restrictions announced Saturday evening, including the closure of non-essential public places such as cafes, restaurants, cinemas and gyms, voting stations still opened Sunday.

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President Emmanuel Macron, for whom the two-round polls are a crucial mid-term test, had insisted that the polls to elect mayors and municipal councils must go ahead to assure democratic continuity in the country.

The president said scientists had assured him “there is nothing to prevent the French, even the most vulnerable, from going to the ballot box”, provided everyone observes basic infection-prevention rules.

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