Paris elects first female mayor, left loses dozens of towns

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  March 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM EST
French Socialist party (PS) deputy mayor of Paris and candidate to the municipal elections in the French capital, Anne Hidalgo (C) hugs her husband Jean-Marc Germain after the announcement the results of the secound round of the French municipal elections, in her campaign headquarters in Paris, on March 30, 2014. Anne Hidalgo, the candidate of France's ruling Socialist Party, will be the first female mayor of Paris after winning municipal elections in the French capital on Sunday, exit polls indicated. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET        (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

French Socialist party deputy mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo hugs her husband after the announcement of the results of the second round of the French municipal elections on March 30. Exit polls indicate Hidalgo will be the first female mayor of Paris. Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

Exit polls indicate that Anne Hidalgo has been elected as Paris’ first female mayor in Sunday’s run-off vote.

Hidalgo tweeted a thank you to her followers after the exit poll numbers were announced:

She told the Guardian in 2013 that being the mayor of the French capital was “the best elected job that exists.”

Hidalgo’s anticipated victory was an exception in an otherwise tough election night for President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party, which lost races in towns across the country.

According to Reuters, the Socialist party and its allies won 42 percent of the total vote, trailing the 49 percent won by the French right. The news agency cited an exit poll by survey group BVA.

Exit polling also showed Hollande’s party was set to lose power in cities such as Toulouse, Angers and Quimper.

“It’s a defeat firstly for the left. It’s a sad evening,” government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told the Associated Press.

Based on the preliminary numbers, France’s conservative party National Front, widely known for its anti-immigration position, is expected to win a record number of town halls.