‘We’re told we’re not really French’: Paris suburbs brace for far-right surge in snap election

The ethnically diverse northeastern suburbs of Paris are traditionally a bastion of the political left – and of voter abstention. With France’s legislative elections just days away, activists are battling widespread apathy and resignation as they seek to get out the vote and bar Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally from power.

On a balmy afternoon, several hundred people are gathered on a lawn outside the town hall of Clichy-sous-Bois for the fête de la ville – the annual town party in this northeastern suburb of Paris.

There’s a special guest this year: the Olympic Torch is making a stopover as it completes its 12,000-kilometre relay across France in the run-up to the Paris Games.

Deputy mayor Mehdi Bigaderne, however, is focused on a more pressing race. He is busy canvassing ahead of the country’s two-round legislative elections, scheduled for June 30 and the following Sunday.

Voter surveys suggest Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Rally (RN) is poised to win the largest share of seats in France’s National Assembly, giving it a strong chance of forming the next government. It’s a daunting prospect for many in this densely populated, working-class area that has absorbed immigrant wave after wave and is home to mainland France’s youngest – and poorest – population.

Others, however, appear less concerned.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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