French polling stations open for legislative vote - GulfToday

French polling stations open for legislative vote


French President Emmanuel Macron waves in Le Touquet, France. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Polling stations opened in mainland France Sunday for the second round of parliamentary elections, with recently re-elected President Emmanuel Macron's second-term agenda on the line.

The centrist head of state risks losing his absolute majority in the lower house, owing largely to a strong performance by a newly forged left-wing alliance led by former Socialist Jean-Luc Melenchon.


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France votes on Sunday in a high-stakes parliamentary election that could deprive centrist Macron of the absolute majority he needs to govern with a free hand.

Voting starts at 8am (0600 GMT), with initial projections expected at 8pm (1800 GMT) in an election that could change the face of French politics.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of French far-left opposition party votes at a polling station in Marseille, France. Reuters

Pollsters predict Macron's camp will end up with the biggest number of seats, but say it is in no way guaranteed to reach the 289 threshold for an absolute majority.

Opinion polls also see the far right likely to score its biggest parliamentary success in decades, while a broad left-green alliance could become the largest opposition group and the conservatives find themselves as kingmakers.

If Macron's camp does fall short of an outright majority, that would open a period of uncertainty that could be solved by a degree of power-sharing among parties unheard of in France over the past decades - or result in protracted paralysis and repeat parliamentary elections down the line.

Macron, who wants to push up the retirement age, pursue his pro-business agenda and further European Union integration, won a second term in April.

After electing a president, French voters have traditionally used legislative polls that follow a few weeks later to hand him a comfortable parliamentary majority - with Francois Mitterand in 1988 a rare exception.

Macron and his allies could still achieve that.


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