The French government will propose delaying regional and departmental elections from March to June next year given uncertainties caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
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Prime Minister Jean Castex will submit a bill to parliament in the coming weeks proposing a new electoral calendar, his office said in a statement.
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The move is based on advice from an expert report commissioned by the government in a bid to ensure the largest possible participation in the poll after a sharp drop in voter turnout during municipal elections June, when France was still reeling from its first wave of coronavirus cases.
The report took into account that campaigning will be difficult with France in the midst of a second nationwide anti-virus lockdown and given the need for social distancing measures.
Postponing an election is extremely rare, but it did happen this year when the second round of the municipal vote was postponed from March to June due to infection fears.
Voting by mail was banned in France in 1975 due to fraud concerns.
France next holds presidential elections in 2022.
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