French and Riviera News Monday 25th April 2022

News

Emmanuel Macron re-elected - It has been a clear victory for Emmanuel Macron in the French Presidential elections on Sunday, with 58% of votes going to La Republique en Marche and 42% to far-right leader of the National Rally party, Marine Le Pen. It is the first time in twenty years that an outgoing president has been re-elected; the last time was when Jacques Chirac beat Jean-Marie Le Pen. With the turn out close to the lowest reached in 1969 the election draws a different political landscape from the previous one in 2017.

Following the victory Macron arrived on foot with Brigitte Macron on the Champ-de-Mars, where the President of the Republic first thanked his voters for their “trust in order to bring about his project for a more independent France and a stronger Europe” he also went on to thank “those who voted for him not to support the ideas he holds but, to block those of the extreme right”.

Legislative elections - However, the outgoing president has lost 8.5 points compared to his previous duel with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in 2017. Now re-elected, Macron will have to turn to the "third round" of the presidential election, the legislative elections scheduled for June 12th and 19th, hoping to benefit from a stable majority to govern. In the meantime, the outgoing head of state has already announced that Jean Castex will remain Prime Minister in the coming days, before the appointment of a new government.

Marine Le Pen calls result a “resounding victory” - Meanwhile the National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen called the party’s result a “resounding victory”. Twenty years after the surprise emergence of Jean-Marie Le Pen in the second round (17.79%), the far right has never come so close to power under the Fifth Republic. Locally in the city of Antibes Marine Le Pen has gained ground since 2017 with 45.60% of the votes cast compared to 40.62%.

Marine Le Pen wins in more than eight out of ten municipalities in the Var - And in the Var region Marine Le Pen won more than eight out of ten municipalities. The candidate of the National Rally won in 133 municipalities, out of the 153 in the department. Emmanuel Macron only came first in 20 municipalities, including Ramatuelle, Hyères, Toulon, Collobrières and Bandol.

Far left reprimands re-elected president - The leader of far left “La France insoumise” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came third in the first round of the presidential election on April 10th, immediately reprimanded the re-elected president claiming that "Mr. Macron is the most poorly elected of the presidents of the Fifth Republic.

Demonstrations - Following Sunday night’s election results, several demonstrations broke out in several cities in France including Rennes, Strasbourg, Marseille and Paris to protest against the re-election of the outgoing president and against the rise of the far right. In the capital, the crowd converged on the Place de la République.

In other news

Police in Paris open fire - Police in Paris have opened fire at a vehicle driving in the wrong direction on the Pont Neuf in the French capital, killing the driver and passenger. The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning. According to police two people died and another was injured. The vehicle was reportedly heading towards the police officers who responded by opening fire. An investigation is underway.

Attack on priest in Nice - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and local MP for the Alpes Maritimes Eric Ciotti have expressed their “tremendous emotion” following the knife attack on a priest in Nice on Sunday morning. The attack took place in the Saint-Pierre-d'Arène church injuring a priest and a nun who were taken to hospital suffering from several stab wounds. The attacker is not known to the police. Born in 1991 in Fréjus and residing in Nice he was immediately arrested and reportedly suffers from psychiatric disorders. An investigation has been opened for "attempted voluntary homicide and violence with a weapon".

Study - A study by Vinci Autoroutes carried out in the fall of 2021 has shown that the rate of single drivers on the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence is one of the highest in France. In Nice, on the A8, one in 8 drive alone in the morning rush hour between 8am and 10am. The study is part of project to encourage carpooling in order limit traffic and therefore air pollution. To deal with the problem of solo driving, the South region has planned the creation of a high-level coach service on the A8 motorway, with dedicated lanes between Villeneuve Loubet and Antibes.

1st French Socca championship - The 1st French socca championship is to take place in Antibes. The speciality from Nice made with chickpea flour, olive oil, salt, and pepper is to be celebrated and registration is now open. A chance to participate in this unique competition, which brings together professionals in the food trade, around a game of pétanque and a gigantic gourmet buffet.

Business

According to a decree published on Sunday in the Official Journal, in France from January 1st 2023 households living or working in certain low-emission zones, where air pollution exceeds authorized thresholds, will be able to benefit from a zero-interest loan for the purchase of a low-emission vehicle.

The two-year experiment will affect large cities including Paris, Lyon, Grenoble and Aix-Marseille. The zero-rate loan will concern cars and vans weighing less than 2.6 tonnes whose emissions are less than or equal to 50 grams per kilometre, that is to say electric or hybrid vehicles. It may be granted, to individuals and micro-enterprises. The loan of a maximum amount of 30,000 euros must be repaid over a maximum of seven years.

According to reports Twitter's board of directors met with Elon Musk over the weekend to explore his £33.6bn takeover offer for the social media platform. Mr Musk plans to finance his bid with the backing of US lender Morgan Stanley and other financial institutions. A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on the reports.

MPs in the UK have recommended that the UK's aviation watchdog should have stronger powers to protect passengers hit by the kind of disruption caused by the pandemic. A Commons Transport Committee report has said that the Civil Aviation Authority should have "more teeth" to be able to fine airlines not giving refunds. It also called for ministers to publish an aviation recovery plan by June.

Sport

Formula One – Max Verstappen has now closed the gap on Leclerc at the top of the championship to 27 points with his win in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy on Sunday. After the race Verstappen expressed his sympathy for title rival Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari driver threw away seven points with a potentially costly error. Meanwhile Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff apologised to Lewis Hamilton on the team radio at the end of the race describing their car as “undrivable” and that Lewis “deserved better”. The seven-time world champion could only finish 13th. Formula 1 heads to the United States next for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, from 6-8 May.

Football - In the Premier League at the weekend it was a good result for Arsenal who beat Manchester United 3-1. Manchester City thrashed Watford 5-1 and Liverpool moved back to within one point of Premier League leaders Manchester City and left neighbours Everton in the bottom three after a 2-0 victory. There is one match tonight Crystal Palace play Leeds kick of is at 9pm French time.

Meanwhile in French football Paris St-Germain confirmed a record-equalling 10th French title with four games to spare despite being held by 10-man Lens - but unhappy fans left early to celebrate outside the stadium without the players. The club's ultras, annoyed by the club's Champions League exit to Real Madrid, started to leave the stadium 15 minutes before the final whistle rather than celebrate with the players. 

Tennis - Emma Raducanu has won the Breakthrough of the Year award at the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards. The 19-year-old, a shock US Open winner last year, is one of three Britons to win awards, along with skateboarder Sky Brown and BMX rider Bethany Shriever.

Weather

Today, cloudy with sunny intervals highs of 18 degrees along the coast in the Alpes Maritimes. Possibility of scattered showers inland by this afternoon. Light to moderate winds. This evening clear skies going down to 10 degrees.

Outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday - Remaining much the same with highs of 18 in Nice and reaching 21 in Saint Tropez in the Var with clear skies.

And finally

A controversial Harvard scientist has announced that he wants to launch an investigation into a meteor that he believes is actually alien technology which is lying at the bottom of Pacific Ocean. The US Space Command last week confirmed that a meteor that hit Earth in January 2014 did come from another solar system and is therefore the first known interstellar object. However, Harvard physicist Avi Loeb claimed that the object is instead a piece of alien technology. Loeb suggests that by scooping up the object from the bottom of the Pacific with a magnet and examining the 'artificial' object acould be an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream of getting his hands on alien technology.

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