Second term of Macron in doubt as voting begins in France's parliamentary elections

A final flurry of polls on Friday suggested Macron's Together allies were on track for 255-305 seats on Sunday, with only the upper end of that range being a majority of more than 289. (Photo: Reuters)

France has begun voting in the last round of legislative elections, with the centrist coalition of President Emmanuel Macron hoping to fend off a challenge from a newly formed left-wing alliance.

Forecasters anticipate a repeat of last week's poor voter participation at polling locations, which will be open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sunday (0600 GMT).

The vote will be necessary for Macron's second-term plan following his April re-election, as the 44-year-old requires a majority to push through promised tax cuts, social reform, and an increase in the retirement age.

Polling firms predict that his "Together" alliance will be the largest party in the upcoming National Assembly but may fall short of the 289 seats necessary for a majority.

New left-wing alliance NUPES hopes to spring a surprise, with the red-green coalition vowing to obstruct Macron's agenda after uniting behind Jean-Luc Melenchon, 70, as its leader.

Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Rally party, is also seeking significant gains for her party, which held only eight seats in the outgoing parliament.

Final voting round

Macron was dismayed by the results of the first round of voting last weekend, in which Together and NUPES tied with approximately 26 percent of the vote.

Inflation on the rise, the lackluster campaigning of newly appointed Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, and the abrasive personality of Emmanuel Macron were all cited as causes for the poor performance.

On Sunday, the two remaining candidates in the majority of the country's 577 seats will face off in the runoff election.

The election is the culmination of a two-month campaign to elect a new president and parliament, and voter tiredness is believed to be one of the reasons for the anticipated record-low turnout on Sunday.

In the past week, the struggle between Together and NUPES has been increasingly acrimonious, with Macron's friends attempting to portray their principal opponents as dangerous far-leftists.

Melenchon has pledged to eliminate "30 years of neo-liberalism" or free-market capitalism and to increase the minimum wage, public spending, and nationalizations.

Twenty years had passed since France last had a president and prime minister from different parties when right-leaning Jacques Chirac had to work with a Socialist-dominated parliament led by premier Lionel Jospin.

A government reorganization is anticipated after the election.

Publish : 2022-06-19 19:19:00

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