Lille (AFP)

Martine Aubry, PS mayor of Lille since 2001, was re-elected Friday at the head of the city by the new municipal council after a victory on the wire in the second round, against which the oppositions EELV and LREM filed the same day appeals before the administrative court.

Aged 69, the former minister won Sunday in a triangular by totaling 40% of the votes cast, with 227 votes ahead of his former environmental ally, Stéphane Baly (39.4%). Violette Spillebout, former chief of staff of Ms. Aubry who passed in 2017 in the macronist camp, finished third with 20.6% of the vote, against a background of record abstention (more than 68%).

During this first meeting of the new Lille municipal council, Martine Aubry was elected by 43 votes to 12 to Stéphane Baly, Violette Spillebout not having herself been a candidate.

The candidate LREM filed Friday afternoon, "for ethics", an appeal ("electoral protest") before the administrative court of Lille, pointing to "transgressions to democracy" and "very numerous irregularities" during the electoral campaign, in particular "pressure" on traders.

Several of his running mate, however, dissociated themselves from this recourse, like the deputy LREM Brigitte Liso who judged the "methods" of Mrs. Spillebout "not worthy of the beautiful campaign that we waged".

While the city council was standing, Mr. Baly's list, in turn, announced that it had filed another appeal with the administrative court.

"This protest is based on irregularities noted during the electoral campaign and on irregularities in the voting operations themselves, confirmed after verification for two days by Lille Verte 2020 militants of the lists of signatures, proxies and ballots considered void, "read a statement released by the Baly list.

Unsurprisingly, former PS MP Audrey Linkenheld, presented unofficially as the runner-up of Martine Aubry, was elected first assistant. Symbol of the national and Lille green wave, it will be in charge of "ecological transition and sustainable development, finance, climate, carbon neutrality, energy and the economy".

As if to better illustrate a possible future handover between the two women, it was Ms. Linkenheld who presented Ms. Aubry's candidacy for mayor at the start of the session.

On June 28, the start of the evening of the second round of the municipal elections was marked by a strong suspense, the estimates of the polling institutes putting shoulder to shoulder Ms. Aubry, however favorite, and Mr. Baly, even giving a small advantage to the EELV candidate, almost unknown to the general public a few weeks ago.

While it was outdistanced on Lille intramuros, the former emblematic minister of the plural left finally won thanks to her good results in the associated commune of Lomme.

In the last days of the campaign, "the Lady of the 35 Hours" had benefited from calls to vote in favor of those responsible for her municipal opposition at the time (right).

The town hall of Lille is a historic bastion of the PS. The city is in fact governed by the socialists since 1919 (except for a Gaullist parenthesis at the end of the Second World War).

© 2020 AFP