Marseille (AFP)

Michèle Rubirola, a doctor and elected environmentalist, became the first female mayor of Marseille on Saturday, causing the city to be turned to the left held for 25 years by LR Jean-Claude Gaudin, after an electoral saga with twists and turns.

Ms. Rubirola, 63, candidate of the union of the left and environmentalists of the Printemps Marseille, obtained an absolute majority, 51 votes out of 92 councilors, the RN having abstained, thanks to the last minute support of the senator ex -PS Samia Ghali. She was applauded at length.

"I am relieved to see that the will of the people of Marseille has been respected," said Ms. Rubirola, her voice filled with emotion just after her election.

Le Printemps marseillais, a union that had long been considered improbable by left forces in the second city of France, had come out on top in the second round with 38% of the vote, the camp of the Republicans, led by Martine Vassal picking up only 30%.

But because of the electoral system in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, where the election of the mayor is played by sector, Michèle Rubirola was not guaranteed to take the head of the city.

She promised to "reduce the territorial divide", in a city divided between very impoverished and wealthy districts. "This project is about a greener, fairer and more democratic city," she said.

© 2020 AFP