French election: Macron’s centrists expected to keep parliamentary majority after first round of voting



French president Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance is expected to keep its parliamentary majority after the first round of voting in the elections, but will likely have far fewer seats than five years ago, according to projections.

Projections based on partial election results showed that at the national level, Mr Macron’s party and its allies got about 25 per cent of the vote.

That was neck-and-neck with estimates for a new leftist coalition composed of hard-left, Socialists and Green party supporters. Yet Mr Macron’s candidates are projected to win in a greater number of districts than their leftist rivals, giving the president a majority.

France‘s two-round voting system is complex and not proportionate to the nationwide support for a party. For races that did not have a decisive winner on Sunday, up to four candidates who got at least 12.5 per cent support each will compete in a second round of voting on 19 June.

Following Mr Macron’s reelection in May, his centrist coalition was seeking an absolute majority that would enable it to implement his campaign promises, which include tax cuts and raising France‘s retirement age from 62 to 65.

Yet Sunday’s projection shows Mr Macron’s party and allies could have trouble getting more than half the seats at the Assembly, much less than five years ago, when they won 361 seats. Polling agencies estimated that his centrists could win from 255 to over 300 seats, while the leftist coalition led by Jean-Luc Melenchon could win more than 200 seats.

Sunday’s turnout reached a record low for a parliamentary election, with less than half of France‘s 48.7 million voters casting ballots.

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne said: “We have one week of action, one week to convince, one week to get a strong and clear majority.”

“Faced with the situation in the world and the war at Europe’s doors, we cannot take the risk of instability,” she added, urging voters to gather behind Mr Macron’s alliance in the second round. “Faced with extremes, we will not yield.”

Mr Melenchon, who had hoped the election would vault him into the prime minister’s post, did not accept the preliminary projections, insisting that his coalition came in first. “Projections in numbers of seats at this hour make quite no sense,” he said.

He urged the French to choose his coalition’s candidates in the second round and “definitively reject the doomed projects of the majority of Macron.”

His platform included a significant minimum wage increase, lowering the retirement age to 60 and locking in energy prices, which have been soaring due to the war in Ukraine.

Even though Mr Macron beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the presidential runoff, France‘s parliamentary election is traditionally a difficult race for far-right candidates. Rivals from other parties tend to coordinate or step aside to boost the chances of defeating far-right candidates in the second round.

Projections showed that Ms Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party could get 10 to 30 seats — up from eight five years ago. If it passes the threshold of 15 seats, it can form a parliamentary group and gain greater power at the assembly.

Ms Le Pen, who ran for reelection in her stronghold of Henin-Beaumont, in northern France, praised Sunday’s results.

“Next Sunday, it is important not to let Emmanuel Macron get an absolute majority, which he will abuse to implement his self-centered and brutal methods and impose his anti-social project,” she said.

She called on voters to vote blank or not go to the polls in districts that have only Mr Macron’s or Mr Melenchon’s candidates.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.



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