Lille (AFP)

Xavier Bertrand was reelected without surprise on Friday president of the Hauts-de-France regional council, in a hemicycle where the left is making a comeback, and promised to continue fighting for the region although he has already declared his candidacy for the presidential election.

"My energy will be turned to continue to fight for Hauts-de-France and its inhabitants", assured Mr. Bertrand after being re-elected without problem by the 110 votes of his majority - which had 116 under the previous mandate - out of a total of 170 elected officials.

The other two candidates, the former head of the list Sébastien Chenu (RN) and Karima Delli (union of the left and environmentalists) received respectively 32 and 28 votes.

Under the previous mandate, the FN was the only opposition to the majority of Xavier Bertrand, with 54 elected.

Xavier Bertrand owed his victory in 2015 only to the withdrawal of the socialist list after the arrival at the top in the first round of Marine Le Pen.

The re-elected president greeted Friday "a hemicycle more representative of the political forces of the region", Karima Delli seeing for his part in the return of the left a "very good news for democracy" and promising an opposition "uncompromising" but "constructive ".

Sébastien Chenu stressed that the very strong abstention from the regional should constitute a "terrible lesson in humility" for the majority.

"We will continue to be the social and patriotic conscience of this assembly when, barely elected, you reaffirmed your wish, Mr. President, to see the retirement age extended to 65 years", launched Mr. Chenu, pointing to the "cynicism of a regional electoral campaign when it is only a pretext for another mission".

Xavier Bertrand's right-hand man, Christophe Coulon, stressed on the evening of the second round that the re-elected president would delegate more during this term than the previous one while remaining an "active president".

© 2021 AFP