July 4, 2020 / 5:14 PM / a month ago

Marseille turns green with election of first woman mayor

A general view shows the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MUCEM) and the Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille, France, November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Marseille became the latest French municipality to elect a green mayor on Saturday, in a wave that has swept the country since local elections at the end of last month.

Michele Rubirola, the first female leader of France’s second city, won the most votes from city councillors, ending almost a week of suspense after the June 28 poll which failed to give her green-left coalition an absolute majority.

Her election marked the end of a quarter century of conservative rule in Marseille, which joins Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and others in sending environmentalists to power.

Rubirola pledged to clean up the Mediterranean port city, which has suffered from pollution, municipal strikes and traffic congestion, but has also been ridden by gang violence, corruption and poverty.

“This is the end of clannishness, nepotism and cronyism,” she told supporters of her so-called “Marseille Spring” coalition.

President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche party performed poorly in the June 28 local elections which saw a resurgence in support for left-leaning groups, particularly green candidates.

Reporting by Marc Leras in Marseille; Writing by Michel Rose in Paris; Editing by Mike Harrison

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